PEOPLE have been informed that there will be an increase in prices of 85 items of daily use, including sugar, edible oil, cement, soft drinks, books, note books, pens and sewing machines. All these items are used by the poor section of society.
The people, in general, do not have interest in the detail of the budget figures and they are only interested what relief they get by the budget.
Unfortunately, schoolgoing children of poor families will face hardships because the prices of books, notebooks and pens will increase and, on the other hand, laptop computers will be distributed to students in a country where millions of children who should have been enrolled in primary classes are unable to attend school because of poverty and neglect.
Cosmetic measures taken by the government will only compound the miseries of the poor of this country.
CAPT (r) WASIF SYED Islamabad
ACCOUNTANTS are heartless people who are focused only on the bottom line. There is no space in their calculus for people and their welfare. But the needs of the people and their welfare should be the benchmark of good governance. This accountant’s budget fails the test. The tail is wagging the dog. For how long can this dispensation survive?
Ishaq Dar’s budget redefines democracy. The new definition of democracy is that budget-making is the prerogative of an accountant acting as proxy for the privileged. Democracy is of the privileged, for the privileged and by the privileged. The ordinary people, the real owners of Pakistan, can go and fish. There is no place for them in the table spread by the accountant.
Knowing Ishaq Dar and his compulsions, the ordinary Pakistani could be resigned to his fate. We might well claim: “Forgive them O’ Lord; they know not what they do.”
But this accountant has got his sums wrong. His numbers do not add up. The budget is far too ambitious. It has set unrealistic targets. It wants to launch bullet trains on an empty treasury. It would have much better if the ministry would have bit the bullet and told us that he was preparing to meet IMF demands. The IMF is coming shortly. It is owed money. It will demand payment. It will set tough terms for fresh assistance.
It is an occupational hazard of politicians to retail half truths. What bluster! We will negotiate with the IMF on our terms. Mr Dar’s bluff is about to be called. Comes a time in every poker game when one of the participants demands a show. Pack your hand now, Mr Dar. Save yourself! embarrassment.
IQBAL ISMAIL Karachi
THE economy is at its lowest ebb, and the country is at the brink of financial catastrophe. The past government did nothing except exploit the situation without realising the fate of the economy and the country itself.
Although I am myself a government employee who belongs to a middle class family and is no supporter of the PML - N, I am happy that this government has taken some of the toughest decisions which none of the previous governments dared to do.
Although increased taxes and non-increment of salaries will affect my personal life, I am still satisfied that I am sacrificing for my motherland. It is time everyone stood behind the government and helped the country to emerge out of the crisis.
ABDUL RASOOL MEMON Badin
THE fact that this budget is purely a businessmen’s budget cannot be doubted. It will surely increase the burden on an ordinary man.
The very first flaw in the budget is that no increase in the salaries of government employees has been made.
The government employees should have been the government’s first priority but they were discarded, regardless of their services to the government.
Second, the educational budget should have free education included in it but free laptops were preferred. Are laptops the only way to increase the literacy rate of the country?
Or is it just a way to become popular among the youths of Pakistan? But I can say that our youths would have preferred free education rather than free laptops.
Lastly, the budget is not benevolent to the poor. The ones who will be benefited are the government official themselves or the large - scale businessmen. This is totally unfair to the rest of the population.
Although the budget did not prove to be a perfect one, the PML-N has definitely put in some good schemes. I wish them best of luck for the upcoming five years.
TAYYABA AHMAD Karachi
THE first budget of the new government has come as a big shock. Those who thought the prime minister had learned from his mistakes have been disillusioned. It is an inflationary budget, and has targeted only those who are in the tax net.
The salaried class has been particularly affected, while agriculturists have been left untouched. The finance minister said nothing about curbing or eliminating electricity and gas theft, or about rampant smuggling, under - invoicing and misdeclaration of imported goods to avoid higher rates of duty.
Eliminating such malpractices can result in savings of a trillion rupees at least. But the government seems helpless before powerful people like smugglers, who are the ones who will benefit the most from the increased rate of sales tax.
In fact, 75 per cent of the collected sales tax is used to pay for refunds (most of which are a result of fraudulent claims). A study recently concluded that the government can earn more by cancelling refunds and abolishing the sales tax department. Instead of cosmetic measures like curbing expenditures on the presidency and the Prime Minister House, the finance minister should concentrate on effective steps like catching those who indulge in smuggling, tax evasion, electricity/gas thefts and such evil practices.
Leaving them alone will prove that this government is no better than the one that preceded it.
SHAKIR LAKHANI Karachi