Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif criticized the government for “failing its supporters” by “displaying nepotism and turning back on its election promises” while rejected the mini budget and said that I did not expect that a genius like Asad Umar would slash the PSDP like this.” He also demanded to withdraw the increase in gas tariff and said that PTI raised slogans of Naya Pakistan and promised to establish merit.
Responding to Sharif’s criticism, Asad Umar Finance minister said that: “Going by what Shahbaz Sharif has said, it seems to me that had the opposition leader been the finance minister in the past government, we would not have been facing the troubles that we do today.” Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Asad Umar came head-to-head on the floor of the National Assembly in a cordial debate over each other’s economic policies.
The budgetary concerns of both the government and the opposition have pushed them to debate out their differences and critique what the members do not agree with. This is a first after a long period of chaos, walkouts, and accusations from both sides. The budget which has been revised has many in favour while realising the amount of damage that has been done over the years, and there are also those who think that the plan will not materialise how the new government has envisioned it.
Though what must be highly praised is the seriousness with which the budget is being undertaken by the government and the opposition. The most prominent bone of disagreement is the lifting of the ban on non-filers to buy property and cars. The previous government introduced this step to increase the local tax base, while the new government is revising it to increase foreign aid.
Accord is slowly being built against the aforesaid measure because it will weaken the local tax base and that, at this point, needs to be modernized in assessment to any other medium of revenue generation. The Senate Standing Committee on Finance also sees the elevating of the ban as a tricky move. However, the new government is willing to re-evaluate its decision.
The seriousness with which the budget is being undertaken by the government and the opposition is admirable.