Mini-budget to push up food prices massively: opposition

Published January 1, 2022
PPP leaders Shazia Marri, Naveed Qamar and Faisal Karim Kundi addressing the press conference.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
PPP leaders Shazia Marri, Naveed Qamar and Faisal Karim Kundi addressing the press conference.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: The opposition continued to assail the government on Friday for introducing the mini-budget that it said would massively increase prices of food items in the country and vowed to move a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser “in the near future” for allegedly favouring the treasury benches.

The opposition lamented that the government had allegedly handed over keys of the State Bank (SBP) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Senior leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Faisal Karim Kindi, Naveed Qamar and Shazia Marri told a press conference on Friday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had dropped another inflation bomb on the masses by tabling a mini-budget (Supple­men­tary Finance Bill-2021) of approximately Rs350 billion in which more taxes had been levied on essential food items such as baby milk and prices of medicines had been increased for the 13th time during the PTI’s tenure.

Vows to move no-confidence motion against NA speaker

“The government has also given extension to those six ordinances that had already expired, which is an illegal procedure,” Mr Kundi said.

“The PPP will bring a no-confidence motion against the NA speaker very soon after consultation with opposition parties,” he said.

The PPP leaders said the opposition would block the passage of the finance bill in parliament.

Speaking on the occasion, Shazia Marri said the country was facing several crises and unprecedented inflation had made the life of the common man miserable.

“The government is treating the State Bank of Pakistan as an ordinary bank and ignores parliament by not bringing the National Security Policy to the National Assembly for discussion,” she said.

The National Assembly, she said, must be run in accordance with the rules of the house. She said the inflation rate had reached 11.5 per cent in the country, while the shortage of gas and urea fertiliser had badly affected the masses.

Surrender to IMF

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif also criticised the government for introducing the mini-budget and said the consequences of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s surrender to the IMF and handing over keys of the SBP to the IMF and devastating effects of the mini-budget would haunt the country for many years to come.

In a statement issued on Friday, he said the PTI government had the audacity of saying that the mini-budget would not affect the poor, which was the most apathetic, indifferent and heartless thing to say.

“Imran Khan has been unleashing one after another demon of inflation on the nation and then acts totally clueless as if he does not know how it has happened. The only reason for this inflation and economic destruction is the PTI government,” he said.

Mr Shehbaz said the mini-budget had ceased the economic activities in the country and Mr Khan and his cronies would be responsible for the unemployment and inflation this mini-budget would unleash on the country.

“The corrupt PTI government is already a failure and now it has led the country into the phase of bankruptcy,” he said.

“Imran Niazi claimed that 2021 will be a year of progress and development but this has turned out to be a year of devastation. Imran claimed that nobody will sleep hungry, but he has snatched even milk from infants. The fruits of this poisonous mini-budget will be reaped in 2022,” the opposition leader said.

He said now the government’s claim of sovereignty of the SBP was another fraud similar to its promises of 10 million jobs and five million homes.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2022

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