Imposing a tax on wheat flour is a condemnable decision

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Dr Muhammad Hanif Mughal, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Shadbad, said on Wednesday that the budget had disappointed the masses and businesses and pleased the elite. He said the anger in the masses is increasing due to budgetary measures, which can have severe political consequences.

The budget has exposed the reality of the economic managers’ bold statements and has also curtailed the chances of any economic improvement, he added.

Talking to the party workers, Dr Hanif Mughal said that the budget had made no progress towards equitable taxation and sustainable government expenditure as promised. Rather, the taxation system has become more cruel. At the same time, government expenditure has reached up to 25% of the GDP and is increasing.

Half to two and a half per cent withholding tax has been imposed on flour and other wheat products, which is unacceptable. This will increase the price of a 20 kg bag of flour by 40 rupees and other wheat products by 200 rupees per bag.

He said that the assurances of economic managers before the budget were a joke to the nation, and the people would not tolerate this insult.

Dr Hanif Mughal said that the failed budget of the coalition government is an attempt to strangle the people, which will further worry the taxpayers while fattening the sacred cows.

There is not even a sign of real economic reforms in the budget. It is clear from the budget that our policymakers do not want to expand the tax base meaningfully and are content to make statements in this regard.

He informed that the SPI data for the week ending 27 June indicates that the heaviest burden was borne by those earning an income from 22,899 to 29,517 rupees per month, followed by those earning 29,518 to 44,175 rupees per.

While these two income groups would remain exempt from income tax, what needs to be taken into consideration is that these two groups would nonetheless suffer a decline in their disposable incomes.

The income of these groups would decline given that the ambit of sales tax has been widened to include essential items, including milk and stationery. It is fair to assume that their kitchen budgets must be revisited and stark choices made.

Even though no tax has been imposed on retailers, the increase in taxes on real estate has been restricted to ordinary citizens. In contrast, the rulers have drastically increased their privileges.

The assembly members will be given five hundred billion rupees in the name of the development budget, a political bribe.

All this looting is done when efforts are made to take another loan from the IMF.

The country has reached the extreme of economic fall due to the wrong priorities of the ruling class and the continued plunder of national resources.

He said that according to economic experts, the real benefit of the new agreements for obtaining more loans will benefit the corrupt mafia. At the same time, the people will bear the burden.

In these circumstances, national development and luring local and foreign investment is a self-delusion.



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