ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Tuesday called the PML-N budget for the upcoming fiscal year “pro-rich”, and said it is unlikely that revised revenue targets will be met.
Shah said the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget proposals were made on conditions placed by the International Monetary Fund.
He demanded a new National Finance Commission award, and for the government to divert more resources towards primary education and health.
The senior PPP leader censured the PML-N government for not ending load-shedding in the country despite promises to do so. “The government could not provide uninterrupted electricity supply to industries despite its commitment. That is why industrial growth has decreased,” Shah said.
He also pointed out that the government had missed targets in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Shah drew the attention of the government towards the plight of farmers, saying due price should be paid for agricultural products.
He criticised the imposition of a tax on poultry feed, while exemptions were granted for spare parts of airplanes and large vehicles.
The privatisation policy of the government also came under fire, as Shah said the government sold Heavy Electrical Complex and HBL shares cheap.
However, he appreciated the government’s increase in allocation of funds for the Benazir Income Support Programme, Baitul Maal, and the launch of Metro Buses ─ while criticising the annual subsidy on Metro Bus Project. He also said the PPP would support government’s move toward de-politicising the Federal Board of Revenue.
The government’s revised revenue target was still not likely to be achieved, Shah said during the session.
The Leader of the Opposition said the PPP government, during its tenure, had faced many challenges including global recession, high prices of petroleum products and terrorism.
“The PPP government had given a 125 per cent increase in the salaries of the government employees in its last tenure. I urge the government to increase the salary of government employees by at least 25pc,” he suggested.
Shah called for an all parties conference to discuss the issue of rapid population growth.
Before initiating the debate on budget, Shah suggested parliament pass a resolution condemning the statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bangladesh.
He said that Modi’s statement was condemnable, and the Foreign Officeshould play its role in this regard.
“Pakistan wants friendly ties with neighbours but India wants to challenge sovereignty of Pakistan,” he said.