IMF not satisfied with budget measures, expert fears

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Sunday that many conditions of the IMF have not been fulfilled in the recent budget, due to which the acquisition of new loans may be in danger. He said that allocating 1400 billion rupees to the developmental schemes is tantamount to cruelty to the people.

Cutting unnecessary development projects could have relieved the people, but this will not be done due to political reasons.

Talking to the business community Shahid Rasheed Butt said that last year, 950 billion rupees were earmarked for development projects, of which not even half could be spent. Still, Rs 1400 billion has been allocated this year to reward the favourite politicians, business people, and bureaucrats.

Direct taxes have been given excessive importance, which will increase poverty and misery, while the reduction in government expenditure has been neglected, and expenditure has been improved massively.

He observed that politically motivated development projects will reduce government revenue, which the IMF will not accept. Several hundreds of billions of rupees of concessions have been given to industries, which violates the commitments made to the IMF.

New mini-budgets will have to be brought in, increasing the pressure on the people. Big infrastructure projects have always damaged the country’s economy, but this remains the weakness of many leading politicians.

He demanded that politicians delay spending money on unnecessary projects for two years to improve the country’s economic condition.

Despite the huge inflation increase, keeping those with incomes up to six lakhs in the tax net is excessive. In the current situation, those who earn at least twelve lakh rupees should be exempt from paying taxes.

He said that making essential items expensive and giving safe passage to the elite is against the country’s interests, which should be considered.

He noted that how the government continues to take money from regular people to enrich state employees is ridiculous.

For instance, the national assembly and senate’s combined budget increased by 101 per cent, from Rs 9.9 billion in 2022–2023 to Rs 19.98 billion.

The fact that negative policies based on self-serving attitudes have created a financial void for Pakistanis and future generations. The rulers responsible for the situation are bent on damaging the economy for political purposes.

He said that if interest rates were to fall, those in power would be able to borrow even more money to continue spending it on themselves while issuing flowery statements for the masses.

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