Published Date: Jun 22, 2013
SDPI holds post-budget seminar
Development Policy Institute on Friday organised a special post-budget seminar,
‘Federal Budget 2013-14: An Overview,’ here on Friday. MNA Dr Arif Alvi from
PTI, Senator Saeed Ghani from PPP, MNA Arfa Khalid, Qaiser A Sheikh from PML-N,
Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI and Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy
Executive Director, SDPI spoke on the occasion.
as key note speaker, Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI said
keeping in view the present economic situation budget presented by any party at
this time would have been the same. He added that "Pakistan’s is facing
enormous macroeconomic challenges which hardly leave any fiscal cushion for the
government to be innovative or to take popular measures."
said the government has indicated to get bailout package from IMF and therefore
measures such as implementation of GST and reforms in power sector and Public
Sector Enterprises were introduced to give a clear message to IMF.
"Measures for adjustment taxation would help in documentation of the
economy, and people will be encouraged to register with the FBR. Likewise, the
continuation of the income support programme would satisfy the IMF’s demand for
social safety nets so that the adverse effects of structural reforms can be
reduced for poor people," he added.
Suleri lamented that all the provinces had presented deficit budgets which
shows fiscal irresponsibility on the part of provinces particularly after
receiving major chunk in federal divisible pool. He said provinces must have
given surplus budgets by improving provincial tax to GDP ratio and reducing
expenditure. He concluded that although economic situation is not very
promising but the new government can at least bridge the trust deficit of
people, donors and international community by introducing transparency and good
Saeed Ghani from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that PML-N government has
introduced measures such as RGST and tax amnesty schemes in the budget which it
had earlier opposed in PPP government. He said FY14 budget is a traditional
budget where poor and working class has been put under extreme pressure. He
said PML-N claims to end discretionary funds, but the budget has an allocation
of Rs 115 billion under the head ‘new development initiatives’ which had no
details and would probably be used at the discretion of the Prime Minister.
Dr Arif Alvi, MNA, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) called it an elitist budget
where poor are further taxed and rich were given benefits. He criticised that
instead of directly taxing the rich, the government has conveniently resorted
to increase GST. "This increase has already resulted in increase in
inflation but unfortunately there is no mention of addressing inflation in
budget except establishing Sunday Bazars," he added. He criticised claim
of ending circular debt in 60 days, which he said is not possible, without
printing money as there is no other source available.
Arfa Khalid from PML-N was of the view that new government had got economy in
the most shattered state and situation demands all parties to work together to
revive economy and spur economic growth. Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh MNA from PML-N
said the budget has tried to give the direction to economic revival. He said
Pakistan’s growth rate was declining in last years and new budget has tried to
kick-start economic growth and increase revenues.
discussion was moderated by Dr Vaqar Ahmad, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI who
in his remarks maintained that promised ending of circular debt in less than 60
days could result in further increase in domestic borrowing and also the Discos
don’t have the capacity to retire such debt as well. He said that Punjab,
Sindh, and KP had posted deficits in their budgets. This will further increase
the consolidated national fiscal deficit to the tune of 0.3 percent to 0.5
percent of GDP.-PR