ISLAMABAD, Jun 18 (APP):The members of the National Assembly (MNAs) Thursday said the budget presented by the Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf government for the fiscal year 2020-21 was the best possible one in the circumstances when the whole world was engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic and economic slowdown.
Participating in the budget debate in the National Assembly, PTI’s Mian Shabbir Ali Qureshi said the government’s policies would lead the country towards economic stability.
He said the coronavirus had paralyzed the major economies, causing a global recession. However, the pandemic was dealt with properly in Pakistan and that was why it had little impact on its economy as the overall gross domestic products went down only to negative 0.38 percent.
On the contrary, he added, other world economies, including the United States, were badly affected by the coronavirus.
He said it was for the first time the health budget was increased by 135 percent whereas Rs 70 billion were specially earmarked for controlling the coronavirus. The government had also enhanced the allowances of health workers by 100 percent.
He said soon after the outbreak of coronavirus, the government announced a historic stimulus relief package of Rs 1,200 billion, under which Rs 12,000 cash assistance each was distributed among 1millions of families.
The package also included Rs 50 billion for the Utility Stores Corporation to provide necessary commodities at subsidized prices. The government also provided Rs100 billion to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for refunds whereas Rs 100 billion was earmarked for electricity and gas relief. Likewise, Rs 100 billion was provided for relief to the small medium enterprises and agriculture sector.
He said no new taxes were imposed in the budget rather the existing taxes were reduced while the Ehsaas programme had been enhanced to Rs 208 billion.
He said the government earmarked Rs 37 billion for ML1 whereas Rs 188 million was allocated for the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which would help development of less developed areas.
He urged the government to ensure development of Muzaffargarh district and demanded establishment of a university in the district.
Participating in the budget, Kanwal Shauzab said Pakistan’s ease of doing business ranking had improved and it was at first number in the index. The previous governments did nothing to improve economy and they had even failed to maintain fiscal discipline.
She said the coronavirus was handled properly in Pakistan as compared to other countries as evident from the number of affected people and those who had died of COVID-19.
Mehr Irshad Sial of Pakistan People’s Party said the government should have increased the salaries of government employees, particularly those related with the health sector.
He urged the government to provide relief to the farmers by providing them electricity connections for tube-wells. He also asked the government to resolve the issues of fertilizer and pesticides, besides facilitating export of mangoes.
He also demanded establishing a branch of National Bank in Muzaffargarh and an additional center of NADRA.
Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said the budget was not prepared by the elected representatives of the country. He claimed that the government had reduced budget for both education and health sectors.
He also highlighted the issue of locust attack saying no proper measure was taken to overcome it and it had inflicted loss of Rs 200 billion and could lead to starvation.