Friday, June 09, 2023
Hammad Azhar, who is part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) economic team, has said that all targets set by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government in the federal budget are “artificial and not realistic”.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Friday unboxed a Rs14.46 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, introducing "no new taxes" and envisaging an economic growth of 3.5% as the crisis-riven country looks to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release more bailout money.
Reacting to the budget, Azhar said targets set for economic growth, tax collection, inflation rate, imports and remittances had not been written in the finance bill to balance the budget as they had “nothing to do with reality”.
Similarly, the former industries minister said there “is a figure fudging of one thousand billion rupees in the amount of interest payments and non-tax revenue” in the budget.
He said the incumbent finance minister did not outline any plan to reduce inflation or save the “sinking economy”.
“Industrial production fell by 25% due to the ban on the import of raw materials and a shrinking economy. No comprehensive plan was made to restore the economy,” Azhar added.
He said the budget document sought to pay off debts worth Rs8.5 billion which he said was not possible with securing the IMF bailout package.
The PTI leader also said the incumbent government did not seem interested in effective decision-making and the economy. “[..] they only care about Imran Khan.”
PTI leader Asad Umar said GDP growth declined from 6.1% last year to 0.3% this year as per government statistics. “This is the biggest growth decline since 1971 for Pakistan. Add the highest inflation in the nation's history. The economic collapse is catastrophic. This ain't working. Time to rethink, reset and revive.”
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance minister and PTI leader Taimur Khan Jagra took to Twitter to criticise the federal budget.
“Budget 2023-24 PTI dreamt of a health card for every Pakistani - should have been beyond party lines. PDM tried the entire year to destroy it; stopped it for FATA; stopped it multiple times in Punjab & KP. Now Dar introduces a health card for artists only. What a come down!.”
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on social media that the PDM-led government had failed to achieve all economic targets and criticised the rulers for runaway inflation despite a fall in international commodity prices.