Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Monday, September 26, 2022

Is opposition Criticism on Budget 2020-21 Justified?

The PTI-led government on Friday introduced a tax-free budget of Rs7.13 trillion for Fiscal Year 2020-21, but the government is being extensively criticized for not providing relief to the common masses of the country; however, many economists termed this criticism as one sided and unfair as the government had managed to introduce a realistic budget considering the challenges of the coronavirus and other external factors.

Pakistan’s economy was already on ventilator and the pandemic has made the situation more worst triggering negative growth. Critics of the government have completely ignored the prevailing pandemic situation and are politicizing the budget despite knowing the economic constraints.

Economy experts have greatly appreciated government move of not imposing any new taxes in order to provide relief to the common masses despite adverse impact of Covid-19. There were also some major positives in newly introduced budget which needs to be highlighted rather than only concentrating on negatives just to criticize the government. It must also be noted that criticism on the budget is being launched by political parties who have twice or thrice ruled the country and rather than pushing the country out of the crisis they had further dragged the national economy into a black hole making the recovery an uphill task for the current government.

In the agriculture sector, the government after 18th amendment, for the first time has allocated a total of Rs12 billion for the developmental projects. Many experts termed the allocation as an optimistic move to bring overall improvement in agriculture products in coming years.

Moreover, the government in another positive move, has allocated a total of Rs81 billion for the water resources which will pave way for the timely construction of much awaited Muhmand, Diamar and Basha Dam with no delay. This will directly result in saving the country from water scarcity and provide cheap electricity.

Instead of criticism on the budget the critiques must hail the decision of PTI-led government to reduce custom duty on raw material for the first time ever as this move will directly help in boosting the industrial business in the country and will also help in creating more jobs in different industrial sectors.

The move of the government to allow the manufacturing of new mobile phones in Pakistan for the first time ever is also been greatly admired by the economists as it will help the common masses to get new jobs and the unemployment ratio is likely to decline.

The government has also given exemption to the newly formed districts in term of imports for establishment of new industries until 2023 which will help in boosting tribal districts industrial businesses with almost no tax ratio.

Meanwhile, criticism on the huge difference between health, education and military budget is beyond common sense as health and education are provincial subjects while defence is a federal subject. The provinces are allotted above 50% funds directly as per NFC to spend on its different subjects which also includes health and education.

Earlier in this year, India raised its defence spending by around 6%. Moreover, the size of Indian defence budget is six times bigger than the total outlay of Pakistan’s defence. In fact, India’s defence budget is equal to Pakistan’s total budget outlay. India’s military spending has grown by 259 per cent over a 30-year period stretching from 1990 to 2019 and by 37 per cent over the 2010-19 decade. In this backdrop, criticizing Army budget seems to be following specific agenda in order to weaken our response and defence. The undue criticism also depicts the vested agenda of few social media personalities and journalists. Criticism must be directed to bring reforms rather than molding facts and presenting it to portray negativity.

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