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Published Date: Jun 21, 2013

SDPI Press Release (June 21, 2013)

Sustainable
Development Policy Institute has organized a special post budget seminar titled
‘Federal Budget 2013-14: An Overview’ here on Friday.

MNA
Dr. Arif Alvi from PTI, Senator Saeed Ghani from PPP,  MNA Arfa Khalid and
Qaiser A.Shiekh from PMLN , Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI
and Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI spoke at the occasion.

Speaking
as key note speaker, Dr.  Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI
said that 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.”

He
said that 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 program 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 went on to add.

Dr
Suleri lamented that all the provinces had presented deficit budgets which
shows fiscal irresponsibility at part of provinces particularly after receiving
major chunk in federal divisible pool. He expressed that 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
governance.

Senator
Saeed Ghani from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that PMLN government has
introduced measures such as RGST and tax amnesty schemes in the budget which it
had earlier opposed in PPP government. He said that budget is a traditional
budget where poor and working class has been put under extreme pressure. He
also said that PMLN claims to end discretionary funds, but the budget has an
allocation of 115 billion under the head ‘new development initiatives’ which
had no details and would probably be used on the discretion of 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 criticized
that instead of directly taxing the rich, the  government has conveniently
resorted to increase GST. “This increase has already  resulted into
increase in inflation but unfortunately there is no mention of addressing
inflation in budget except establishing Sunday bazars,” he added. He also
criticized claim of ending circular debt in 60 days, which he said is not
possible, without printing money as there is no other source available.

MNA
Arfa Khalid from PMLN was of the view that new government had got economy in
the most shattered state and situation demand s all parties to work together to
revive economy and spur economic growth.

Qasier
Ahmad Sheikh MNA from PMLN said that present budget has tried to give the
direction to economic revival. He said that Pakistan’s growth rate was
declining in last years and new budget has tried to kick start economic growth
and increase revenues.

The
discussion was moderated by Dr. Vaqar Ahmad , Deputy Executive Director, SDPI
who in his remarks maintained that promised ending of circular debt in
under 60 days could result in further increase in domestic borrowing and also
the DISCO’s don’t have the capacity to retire such debt as well. He further
said that Punjab , Sindh, and KPK had posted deficits in their provincials
budgets. This will further increase the consolidated national fiscal deficit to
the tune of 0.3 to 0.5 percent of GDP.