Budget reactions: Not a people friendly budget, say opposition members

ISLAMABAD: Shortly after the budget was presented, members of the opposition in the assembly spoke to media outside the national assembly to give their reactions.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Farooq Sattar said that as per tradition no lasting solution to the country’s economic woes had been presented.

Sattar, whose party won a massive majority of seats from the financial hub of Pakistan, said that after the 18th Amendment, most of the constitutional subjects have been devolved to the provinces. In light of this, the federal budget should have been reduced.

“It means that as per tradition only a symptomatic treatment has been done, a permament solution has not been proposed.”

Criticising sales tax

Sattar also criticised the new government’s plan to increase sales tax by one per cent.

“Sales tax should have been reduced from 16% to 10%, instead, it was increased to 17%.”

This, Sattar said would only further burden the poor. “An increase of one per cent in sales tax will be an increase of five per cent in inflation.”

He said that sales tax was an indirect tax that is paid directly by the people while the feudalists and landowners escaped taxation. Sattar was also critical over the lack of an agricultural tax.

“The sales tax on the people, we reject it and we will oppose it.”

Sattar, who had presented his party’s shadow budget on Tuesday, said there was no scheme listed that would bring 30 million potential tax payers into the fold. “FBR and NADRA should have been made to answer on this”

“There was no increase in earnings nor were the rich were asked to give sacrifices.”

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Shireen Mazari said that this was not a social welfare budget, rather it was a “businessman’s budget.”

Not a people friendly budget

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Pakistan Peoples Party’s Khursheed Shah also criticised the increase in sales tax saying it affects not only the poor man living in the villages, but also in the cities.

Shah added that they will also protest against changing the name of Benazir Income Support Programme to Pakistan Income Support Programme. He said that they will put political pressure and public pressure on the government to not change the name.

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