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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Jun 16, 2015

Fiscal budget: Government criticised for low allocations

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a post-budget seminar have criticised the government for low allocations for social sector development in the current budget.
They also slated the government for announcing subsidies for sugar and steel mills where the elite have stakes.
They were speaking at a seminar titled “post-budget 2015 — a civil society prospect”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
The speakers said the federal budget was lopsided and tax proposals were burdensome and social sector and social protection had been overlooked.
Social economist Safia Aftab said that Rs1.56 trillion had been allocated under the public sector development programme (PSDP), of which Rs813 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects mostly in provinces.
“If this amount is to be spent in the provinces, then the government should not include it in the federal budget,” she said and added it would be difficult for the government to fund such programmes.
She said Rs3.4 trillion had been allocated to meet the current expenditures, defense and salaries which are 65 per cent of the total outlay and it left a little room for other development projects.
Capital Development Authority Labour Union Vice Chairman Waris Masih said that the government’s announcement of 7.5 per cent raise in salaries was a pittance as compared to the current double digit inflation.
SDPI Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed said the tax reform commission was not consulted by the government in finalising tax proposals.  “The government should not impose such taxes which are difficult to collect,” he suggested.