The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which does not have a viable presence in the National Assembly following en masse resignations, on Friday rejected the government’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23, claiming it is “unimaginative” and will boost inflation.
“We reject this anti-people and anti-business budget presented by the imported government,” PTI Chairman Imran Khan posted on Twitter. “Budget is based on unrealistic assumptions on inflation (11.5%) and economic growth (5%). Today’s SPI [sensitive price index] of 24% indicates that inflation will be between 25/30%, which on the one hand will destroy the common man,” he added.
“On the other hand, [inflation will] retard economic growth due to high interest rates,” he continued. “All our progressive tax reforms and pro-poor programs such as Sehat card, Kamyab Pakistan are being shelved,” he said. “It is an unimaginative, Purana Pakistan budget creating more burdens and misery for the nation,” he added.
The budget unveiled by the government envisages an outlay of Rs. 9.5 trillion against predicted tax revenue of Rs. 7,004 billion. Economic experts had predicted that the budget would be “harsh” and stoke inflation, noting that it was necessary to fulfil the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s conditions for the revival of a $6 billion loan program that has been stalled for several months due to repeated policy breaches by the ousted PTI-led government.
Separately, in a video statement, the PTI’s focal person on economy Hammad Azhar predicted inflation would spike two- to threefold, while the gross domestic product (GDP) would be halved from 6% to 2 to 3%. Claiming that the country was on the brink of default—a repeated talking point of the PTI, which had been in power until April—he claimed that the budget did not present any way to take the country out of its current economic crisis.
Claiming that the people of Pakistan would suffer “more employment,” he blamed the government for compiling the budget “in a haste.”
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Shahzad Waseem, told journalists outside Parliament that the prices of petrol and all essential commodities had increased since the incumbent government came into power. “This budget does not have anything but sorrows for the people. A voice matters more than numbers in the Opposition. We will expose this government every day,” he claimed.