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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Jun 16, 2015

Govt urged to reduce debt burden, regulate subsidies

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 – Islamabad—The federal budget is lopsided as tax proposals are burdensome, narrowly based, and social sector and social protection has been over looked, speakers at the seminar on “Post-Budget 2015: A civil Society Prospect,” organized by SDPI on Monday said. The speaker emphasized that the government needs to reduce debt burden and regulate subsidies. On the Public Sector Development Programme, renowned social economist Safia Aftab said Rs 1.56 trillion has been allocated at the federal level, out of which Rs. 813 billion will be spent in the provinces, on infrastructure.  If the amount is to be spent in the provinces the government should not include it in the federal budget.
Secondly, she said, it will be difficult for the government to fund the programme, especially; when source of funding has not been made clear.  She said about 65 per cent of the outlay, which is Rs 3.4 trillion, has been allocated to meet the current expenditures; defense and salaries, leaving little room for maneuvering.  Last year, she said, about 72 percent of allocations were released, which nobody is sure had been spent. This time it will be more difficult to move on the dot. She criticized the government for poor allocation on social sector. She said, the government has given a plan where it is expecting provinces to generate surplus and through it to the federal level, which will then be spent on the social sector.  She said, if the provinces produce surplus then after the 18th constitutional amendment it should be spent at the provincial level.
Vice Chairman of the Capital Development Authority’s Labor Union, Waris Masih said, the government has allowed only 7.5 per cent increase in salaries, whereas, the inflation is in double digits.  On the social side, little has been given in lieu of medial and education facilities.