Defence budget not increased to provide relief to masses: Qureshi

Published June 14, 2020
"Although we are aware of the designs of India, but did not increase the [allocation for] defence expenditures," said foreign minister. — AFP/File
"Although we are aware of the designs of India, but did not increase the [allocation for] defence expenditures," said foreign minister. — AFP/File

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that despite knowing the nefarious designs of India, no increase was made in Pakistan’s defence expenditures in the budget so that the masses should not be overburdened.

In a video statement issued in connection with the federal budget 2020-21, the foreign minister said the revenue target had been brought down to Rs800 billion because of disruption of the economy by coronavirus outbreak.

“Despite all odds, the budget is balanced, reasonable, positive and optimistic. Although we are aware of the designs of India, but did not increase the [allocation for] defence expenditures. Keeping in view the [country’s] financial condition, Pak Army cooperated a lot with us. We focused more on the communities and areas which are living below the poverty line. For this purpose, we have increased the amount allocated for Ehsaas Programme from Rs178bn to Rs208bn. Although, the health and education sectors are related to provinces, we also allocated a huge amount for these both sectors as well,” he said.

Regarding the opposition’s protest during the budget speech, he said its attitude was “non-serious”.

“The GDP deficit is Rs3,000bn. The budget has been presented in unusual circumstances as the coronavirus has jolted the world economy. There is a revenue deficit of Rs800bn. Our exports were increasing from July to March but they rapidly declined from March to June because of coronavirus,” he said.

Mr Qureshi regretted that because of the huge loans taken by the previous governments, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had to spend a major chunk of the budget on debt servicing.

Giving credit to Prime Minister Imran Khan for championing the cause of underdeveloped countries by seeking debt relief, he said: “It is a matter of pleasure for me that G-20 and Paris Club granted some relaxations to us, while we are still want more concessions so that we could use the resources to provide employment and eradicate poverty.”

He said efforts were on to reform the Federal Board of Revenue, adding that automation of the tax system would result in improvement in tax collection, while it would also help reduce corruption as well.

He said a huge amount had also been allocated for the betterment of the agriculture sector and improving water resources.

“Rs10bn have been allocated for locust control, besides Rs50bn additional amount for the agriculture sector,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2020

Opinion

Editorial

Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...
Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...