Lawmakers demand more relief for poor in budget

Terming the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 “balanced” in difficult economic circumstances, lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday demanded more relief measures for the common man suffering from the last three and half years due to bad governance and wrong economic policies of the past regime.

As the session dragged on despite the lack of quorum, the house echoed with allegations against the previous government of PTI for leaving the country with woes currently buffeting the country’s strained economy, while many indicated that the "bad policies" of the previous regime also took a bite from the current government's "appropriate" fiscal budget.

Participating in a debate on budgetary proposals, Prof Shahnaz Baloch of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) suggested the government purchase petroleum products from Iran at a reduced rate as compared to other international markets for providing more relief to the masses.

She highlighted the importance of ensuring more facilities at Gwadar seaport for increased activities and stressed improving law and order across the country as it would help in restoring the confidence of investors and move the economic wheel at a fast pace.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry Riazul Haq of PML-N lauded the "appropriate budget" considering it was pulled off in a difficult situation.

However, implementing the budget proposals in true letter and spirit could improve the situation significantly, he added. He demanded overcoming the Rs50 billion deficit of Pakistan Railways and the Rs100 billion deficit of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Ms Shamsun Nisa of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lamented the severe water shortage in Sindh and urged the government to provide drip irrigation types of equipment to farmers in the province, especially Thatta.

PML-N Tahira Aurangzeb lauded the budget proposal of paying interest-free loans amounting to Rs100,000 to Rs400,000 to youth for starting their own business.

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She said that from Rs400,000 to one million would be given to youth at the rate of 3 per cent by the government for the same purpose.

She said that it was also announced that from Rs1 million to Rs10 million would be given to youth at the rate of 4 per cent for setting up a business and that move would help in ending the unemployment in the country. In addition to these measures, she disclosed that some 100,000 trained youth would also be provided jobs.

Meanwhile, PTI defector Rana MNA Muhammad Qasim Noon said, “I must appreciate the government for announcing a balanced budget in such a very bad economic situation”. The government had to take tough decisions to put the country on the right economic track.

He said that political stability was a prerequisite for economic progress, prosperity and development. “No economic progress was possible without political stability,” he added.

Announcing incentives for the agriculture sector and withdrawal of taxes on agriculture inputs would bring positive impacts on this important sector, he said.

He asked the government to take steps for ending the black marketing of the fertilisers.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz legislature Ali Zahid asked the international community to take action against BJP leaders, who were involved in hurling derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He said that despite the difficult economic situation the government had announced a people and business-friendly budget. He criticised the PTI government for ignoring the interest of the common men and said that the people of the country would reject them in the general elections.

The deputy speaker adjourned the sitting till Wednesday at 11am (today).

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