PESHAWAR: Opposition parties here on Friday rejected the federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, lambasting the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf rulers for being unable to provide the masses withany relief in the wake of restrictions for containing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry termed the budget a balanced one and asked the government to fully implement the ‘relief initiatives’.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s provincial cabinet in its meeting in Peshawar described the federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year as a total failure to bring any relief to the poverty-hit masses.

The meeting presided over by party’s provincial president Humayun Khan announced that PPP would launch a mass contact campaign across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa soon to mobilise masses against the government’s policies.

Leaders demand payment of KP’s net hydel profit, NFC share

Mr Humayun said that price hike and joblessness had made lives of the people miserable. He said the lock down had badly affected business activities, but the government did not extend any financial support to the traders so far. He PPP would fully support the business community’s demands.

Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan in his statement said that the federal government was unable to achieve the tax collection target of Rs5,829 billion, saying the rulers always targeted the poor masses by increasing the prices of essential items.

He criticised the step-motherly treatment of the federal government with the merged districts and asked for immediate release of the promised funds to remove the sense of deprivation among the people of the backward areas.

The ANP chief said the government was duty-bound to release the pending funds, including Rs650 billion net hydel profit and Rs559 billion NFC share, to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to launch mega development schemes in the province.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz also rejected the federal budget and described it as IMF-made budget.

PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam said in a statement that the federal government did not reduce prices of daily use commodities and medicines.

He said the public-sector universities were facing financial crisis and unable to pay salaries to their employees. He said that the people of merged districts had been waiting for release of Rs100 billion and three per cent share in the NFC award to start development schemes in their areas. He said that the premier had failed to fulfil his promise about tax-free budget.

BUSINESS COMMUNITY: The business community termed the federal budget ‘balanced’, ‘growth-oriented’ and ‘pro-businesses’, asking the government to fully implement ‘relief initiatives’ to revive the Covid-hit national economy, businesses and industries.

Addressing a press conference after presentation of the federal budget for FY 2021-22, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sherbaz Bilour said the government had presented a ‘growth-oriented’ and ‘business-friendly’ budget for the next fiscal year, which would help boost the businesses and industrialisation and create jobs in the country.

The SCCI chief welcomed the abolishment of Federal Excise Duty from erstwhile Fata and Pata.

SCCI vice-president Junaid Altaf, former FPCCI president Ghazanfar Bilour, industrialists and traders were present during the presser.

Mr Bilour hailed the reduction in excise duties, including on raw material. He added that the initiatives to boost hydel power generation, abolishment of tax on online businesses and increase in loans for cottage industries from Rs3 million to Rs10 million would accelerate the pace of economic development.

He also appreciated abolishment of 12 different withholding taxes.

Responding to a question, Mr Bilour asked the federal government to review its policy and ensure payment of net hydel profit amounts along with arrears to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without any delay.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

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