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IMF not satisfied with budget measures

IMF not satisfied with budget measures

ISLAMABAD, JUN 23 (DNA) —Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Sunday that many conditions of the IMF have not been fulfilled in the recent budget, due to which the acquisition of new loans may be in danger.

He said that allocating 1400 billion rupees to the developmental schemes is tantamount to cruelty to the people. Relief could have been given to the people by cutting unnecessary development projects, but this will not be done due to political reasons.

Talking to the business community Shahid Rasheed Butt said that last year, 950 billion rupees were earmarked for development projects, of which not even half could be spent. Still, Rs 1400 billion has been allocated this year to reward the favourite politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats.

Direct taxes have been given excessive importance, which will increase poverty and misery, while the reduction in government expenditure has been neglected, and expenditure has been increased massively. Politically motivated development projects will reduce government revenue, which will not be acceptable to the IMF, he observed.

Several hundreds of billions of rupees of concessions have been given to industries, which clearly violates the commitments made to the IMF. New mini-budgets will have to be brought in, increasing the pressure on the people. Big infrastructure projects have always damaged the country’s economy, but this remains the weakness of many leading politicians.

Politicians should delay spending money on unnecessary projects for two years to improve the country’s economic condition, he demanded. Despite the huge inflation increase, keeping those with income up to six lakhs in tax net is excessive. In the current situation, those who earn at least twelve lakh rupees should be exempted from paying taxes.

He said that making essential items expensive and giving safe passage to the elite is against the country’s interests, which should be considered. He noted that how the government continues to take money from regular people to enrich state employees is ridiculous.

For instance, the national assembly and senate’s combined budget increased by 101 percent, from Rs 9.9 billion in 2022–2023 to Rs 19.98 billion. Not only is a 25 percent pay boost for government workers planned, but the state has also chosen to provide them with loans and advances to increase their financial capabilities further.

This amount is currently budgeted at Rs40 billion, a 300 percent increase from Rs10 billion in last year’s budget. The projected debt-servicing figure, at Rs 9,775 billion, is almost 150 percent higher than the 2022–2023 budget, with domestic debt servicing standing at Rs 8,736 billion, an increase of 154 percent from 2022–2023.

The fact that negative policies based on self-serving attitudes have created a financial void for Pakistanis and future generations. The rulers responsible for the situation are bent upon damaging the economy for political purposes. — DNA

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