ISLAMABAD – Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presented annual budget for FY 2017-18 on Friday in the National Assembly, following which politicians from opposition parties started condemning the recommendations of the fifth federal budget.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s leader Asad Umar spoke to media representatives and criticised the recommendations laid forth in the budget.
This government is not farmer-friendly instead it is an enemy of them, he said. The country which is buried under debt cannot be free, the PTI leader added.

He said that the PML-N government took the same amount of loans within 45 months that the Pakistan People’s Party government took in five years’ tenure.

Senator Sherry Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party expressed concern over the state of the economy and regretted that the government had “run Pakistan into a debt trap deeper than it had ever been in before”.

“This must be the only government which is happy about a trade imbalance,” the PPP leader said in a statement while commenting on the Economic Survey released by the government here on Thursday.

The PPP senator said “by putting everything on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the government is sitting back and explaining away all its missed targets and growing deficit”.

“Instead of even pretending to balance its budget, this government is going headlong into the next financial year by deepening the huge annual current account deficit,” she said, adding: “This is unprecedented even for this government which has run the treasury on empty.”

Ms Rehman said according to the Annual Plan 2017-18, the budget would be marked with incessant borrowing, more indirect taxes, a surreal deficit and skyrocketing debt.

“It is projected that our current account deficit will reach a staggering $10.4 billion from $7.2bn last year. This is mainly because our trade deficit amounts to almost $26.9bn which was roughly $16.5bn during the PPP’s last year in government. Estimates suggest that this year’s current account deficit rose by 42pc compared to last year. How is this not raising any red flags for the government?” the PPP senator asked.

Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan rejected the fiscal budget for the year 2017-18. Party Chief Farooq Sattar called the budget ‘status quo budget’.
Sattar said that taxes have been piled up on the poor. Sattar said the ratio of sales tax should be reduced from 17 percent to nine percent. Petroleum levy should be ended along with sales tax, Sattar added. “There is nothing for the youth, women, non-Muslims in the current budget,” said the MQM-P chief.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government on Friday presented its fifth and possibly last budget before general elections in 2018, earmarking a total of Rs 4,757 billion in expenditures for the next fiscal year.