KARACHI: The new Central budget was generally welcomed in Karachi as a development-orie­n­t­­­ed budget launching the Fourth Plan, and retaining the previous trends. Most people said that un­­der the circumstances, it was a progressive bud­­get and established the Government’s commi­t­­ment to reduce concentration of wealth and rem­ove the inter-regional and intra-regional disparities.

Some of the features which were welcomed by the common man as well as the business commun­i­­­­­­ty were the decrease in the Custom duty on art silk yarn, freeing the trade of betel nut from the pu­­blic to the private sector and tax relief in such items as iron and steel forgings and coils and watches.

But for most of the men, the mood was set by the increased duty on cigarettes and they thought that prices would increase in other spheres too. However, they got some relief from the fact that the budget did not realise their fears of heavy taxation. The budget, they said, was not aiming very high despite ambitious Fourth Plan targets.

Some sectors, nonetheless, received an unexpected pinch and advertising was one. Persons connected with advertising felt it would hurt not only the advertising industry but also the information media.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020