Opposition rejects Budget 2020, slams PTI for using coronavirus as ‘an excuse’

09:39 PM | 12 Jun, 2020
Opposition rejects Budget 2020, slams PTI for using coronavirus as ‘an excuse’
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LAHORE – Opposition leader in Pakistan’s National Assembly Mian Shehbaz Sharif has rejected the federal budget for FY 2020-21 calling it anti-people

In a statement, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president warned that it would lead to further aggravate inflation and unemployment.

“The government first tried to hide its incompetence behind Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and now it’s using coronavirus as an excuse,” said Sharif, who missed the Budget 20-21 session due to COVID-19 infection.

He added that inflation, unemployment and business stagnation are at an all time high.

Sharif maintained that the historic deficit of Rs 1.7 trillion in tax revenue was due to the performance of the present government as for the first time in 68 years, the country’s GDP has turned negative. 

'Non-transparent' budget

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman slammed the ‘non-transparent’ budget, saying the opposition was not taken into confidence by the PTI government.

She told local media that her party's recommendation would be to provide employment opportunities and social protection for the people.

“For the first time in history, the demand for a grant was not provided to the lawmakers — meaning the actual budget was not shared [with the opposition]," she told Geo News.

Terming budget 2020-21 "non-transparent", she said that the opposition's input should have been sought on the document. “I am sure they will take out a rolling budget in the next three months.” 

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) Secretary-General Naeem Mir rejected Budget 2020-21, saying small businesses were ignored and that the condition of presenting a copy of CNIC for transactions was encouraging the undocumented economy. 

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On the other hand, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Ahmed said he “welcomes” the Budget 2020-21, terming it "business-friendly".

The ICCI president also welcomed the move of relaxing the condition of presenting CNIC copies for transactions — now at Rs100,000. "Now new taxes were introduced and that is great," he told the media.

Rejected by the opposition, the second budget by Imran Khan-led government is being hailed as ‘Relief Budget’ by the ruling PTI.

“Keeping the Corona-situation in mind, maximum relief for common man has been ensured in this budget. It can be rightly called a “Relief budget”. I express immense joy in stating that NO NEW TAX has been imposed in this #Budget2020,” said Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar in his budget speech in the National Assembly on Friday.

“Coronavirus pandemic was a huge setback for the underdeveloped nations,” Hammad noted, adding that although it was first thought to be a health issue but "soon afterwards, its social and economic impacts came to the fore".

Since the country is in the middle of fighting a pandemic, roughly Rs70 billion will be allotted for the relief efforts to counter COVID-19.

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