How Are Pakistanis Reacting To Budget 2019?
LAHORE: Minister of State for Revenue, Hammad Azhar on Tuesday presented Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s first ever budget amid opposition protests.
There were some good news and some bad ones but the public overall does not seem to be happy with salient features of the budget with increase in the existing taxes followed by an increase in indirect taxes etc. The salaried class is yet again at the receiving end of the government’s failure to collect taxes from the rich..
Screwing the salaried class over again. Highest tax slab for salaried class now stands at 35%. more than the rate of 29% corporate tax rate. Welcome to Naya Pakistan. #Budget2019
— Shahrukh (@shahrookhh) June 11, 2019
On the other hand, the incumbent government has received praise for measures like an increase in minimum salary, measures for interest-free loans, pension increase etc.
Good steps…Minimum wage increased to 17.5k and 10% increase for pensioners #budget
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) June 11, 2019
The hashtag #Budget2019 started trending as soon as the minister began his speech with policy recommendations.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif took to twitter expressing her displeasure with the budget. She was of the view that this budget was an attempt to put more pressure on the public.
“This is not a budget. It is a recipe prepared by incompetent rulers in the country and the global moneylenders abroad to suck the blood out of the poor. This black document of inflation, unemployment and poverty is yet another ‘achievement’ of this inefficient government that will push Pakistan several years back and make it difficult for the poor to even breathe”, Maryam said.
یہ بجٹ نہیں، ملکی نااھلوں اور عالمی ساھو کاروں کا تیار کردہ عوام کا خون چوسنے کا نسخہ ھے۔مہنگائی، بےروزگاری، غربت کی یہ کالی دستاویز نا اھل حکومت کا ایک اور سیاہ کارنامہ ھے جو پاکستان کو کئ سال پیچھے دھکیل دے گا اور غریب کا سانس لینا دشوار بنا دے گا۔
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) June 11, 2019
Murtaza Solangi, journalist and former Radio Pakistan DG, quoted renowned economist Dr Hafeez Pasha that the actual GDP growth might linger around 2 to 2.5%.
Most of the country’s academics were already worried about HEC budget cuts and as expected the cut is almost 40%, rightly pointed out by Ammar Ali Jan, professor at FC College.
Last year's development budget for the Higher Education Commision (HEC) was 46 billion. This year HEC asked for 55 billion. Instead, the government has allocated 28 billion rupees for them. We should be concerned irrespective of political affiliation. This is beyond tragic!
— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) June 11, 2019
A unique feature appears to be a tax credit of a special kind where employers who hire graduates from 2017 onward will receive tax rebates accordingly. It is important to note that graduates need to be affiliated with an HEC approved institution.
#Budget2019: Employers who provide jobs to new graduates will be given tax rebates; those graduating after 2017 considered as new graduates
— Atika Rehman (@AtikaRehman) June 11, 2019
Despite high revenue targets and acclaimed budget cuts, it seems that this budget follows along the line of previous budgets where the salaried class has always been crushed. Indirect taxes have been increased as per the norm, making day to day commodities even more expensive.
What we need to see is whether PTI has the capacity to execute a ration card scheme, interest-free loans, and other unique budget recommendations.