ISLAMABAD: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has rejected the federal budget 2015 as “anti poor, anti farmer and anti government servants” that fails to take even a small step in the direction of fair and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.
In a statement today the former President said that the third budget of the PML-N government is typically an accountants’ statement that reserves incentives for the rich but placates the poor with mere platitudes and prayers.
It is devoid of vision to introduce tax reforms and documenting the economy that lies at the root of our economic and financial ills, he said.
“The budget has failed to give a vision to address the structural weaknesses stemming from concentration of wealth and inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunities”.
The government servants particularly the low paid ones will be more than disappointed, the farmers frustrated and the working class dismayed at the insensitivity of the government towards their plight, he said.
The government should have set aside, but failed to do, a part of the windfall gains of falling international oil prices for alleviating poverty and ameliorating the lot of peasants and workers.
He said that the failure in achieving economic targets last year only strengthen the widely held belief that that the present budget will also be tall on promises and short on delivery and performance.
Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the former President also expressed deep concern that the government seemed to have reneged on its promise to implement the consensus decision of May 28 All Parties Conference to build the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on priority basis.
The low PSDP allocation for the western route that passes through the lesser developed areas of KPK, Balochstan and close to tribal areas and a further slashing of the final allocation for it in the CPEC project has placed a serious question mark, the former President said and asked the government to come out clean on it.
The PPP has and will continue to support the mega economic project. At the same time it also believes that the government must implement the decisions of APC in letter and spirit and jealously guard against making the CPEC controversial, he said.
It is anti poor budget. While the government is seeking credit for not slashing the budget for Benazir Income Support Program it has quietly shut down Waseela Rozgar and Waseela Haq programs of the BISP depriving the poor a chance to develop skills and start their own small business to come out of the generational poverty cycle, the former President said.
It is an anti farmer budget. The farmers are agitating because of floods and nonseasonal rains but more so because of government’s apathy and failure to give good support price and lower tariffs for tube wells. Even as the budget was presented the farmers were protesting in the Punjab against their plight, he said.
Surprisingly the budget makers have neglected the need for building a University in the tribal areas even as more funds are allocated for additional facilities in some already established seats of higher learning in other parts of the country.
Not long ago the government had promised to give a Marshall Plan to tribal areas. It is ironic that despite tall promise FATA has been denied even a state of the art seat of higher learning, he said.
The budget presentation was also an occasion for the government to announce extension of the jurisdiction of superior courts to FATA. The former President lamented that failure to do so show that the government was paying mere lip service to mainstreaming the tribal areas.