- Says budget to remain in pictures as interim govts won’t have resources announced in budget
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Focal Person for Economy Muzamil Aslam said that the Federal Budget 2023-24 was nothing but a ‘lollipop’ to woo the voters as the PML-N government did in 2018, which was proved counterproductive because the people could not be hoodwinked through false and hollow promises anymore.
In his reaction to the Federal Budget 2023-24 presented on Friday by Ishaq Dar, Muzamil Aslam said that the current budget was similar to the 2018-19 budget announced by the PML-N in April 2018 few months before ending its government tenure.
“We stated at that time that this budget has no future and when new government came to power after the election, it would present itself a new budget because PML-N did a lot of efforts in the budget to increase its vote bank,” Muzamil Aslam
He said that the PML-N led coalition government again repeated the same strategy and presented a budget when its tenure was going to expire on August 12.
“It is also possible that this budget should be revised before June 30,” he added.
Muzamil Aslam said that the budget presented by Miftah Ismail last year was changed twice before June 30.
“I think, this budget is not in line with IMF conditions,” he said.
PTI Spokesperson said that in principle, this government was not entitled to present the budget, adding that in 2018, when the federal government presented the budget for the entire year, the KP and Sindh governments presented only three months’ budget.
Muzamil Aslam went on to say that KP and Sindh governments kept a margin for the incoming governments to present their own budgets.
However, he said that the incumbent government was solely focused on the forthcoming elections.
“All the money including development expenditure, defense budget, salaries, pension will be paid by borrowing,” he added.
He stated that salaries of employees from grade 1 to 16 have been increased by 35% and from grade 17 to 22 by 30%.
Muzamil Aslam said that salary increase was the right of employees due to the record-breaking inflation by the current inapt government.
However, he stated that what was the fault of common people and those who were below the poverty line, adding that according to Hafeez Pasha, 100 million people went below the poverty line in the country.
He revealed that the government made a meager increase in the budget for the Ehsaas program, which was Rs. 450 billion from Rs. 400 billion.
Muzamil Aslam said that in the eyes of the government, inflation was low for the poor and high for government employees.
He alarmed that out of Rs14.46 trillion federal budget, Rs. 7.3 trillion would have to be paid in the form of interest payments, adding that it was happened for the first time in Pakistan that 50% of the country’s total budget expenditure would go to interest only.
Muzamil Aslam said that 10 years ago, if the interest payment was Rs. 1,200 billion or Rs. 1,500 billion, then our defense expenses were Rs. 800 billion or Rs. 1000 billion.
“Our defense budget is extremely low because the government spends money in the wrong places,” Muzamil Aslam said.
“Our army, which remain alert all the time, if you look at it today, the defense expenses are only Rs. 1800 billion, which is not even Rs. $6 billion while India’s defense budget is $ 78 billion,” Muzamil Aslam added.
He stated that the largest amount would go to the provinces in the budget this year, adding that after the 18th Amendment, the provinces have become rich but our federation has become poor.
Muzamil Aslam said that this year, the government would not have any money to pay even the interest after paying the funds of the provinces.
He stated that even for the interim government, this budget would remain in pictures as they would not have the resources announced in the budget.