Govt, Opposition face-off on economic figures

The Nation  |  Jun 19, 2021

| Hammad says figures given by PPP Chairman on poverty, unemployment full of 

contradictions | Bilawal claims federal budget, budget session illegal; 4pc GDP growth rate is wrong | Shehbaz, Bilawal leave House as Hammad Azhar rose to deliver speech

ISLAMABAD   -  Members of National Assembly (MNAs) from both sides in Friday's National Assembly session delivered political-cum-budget speeches in a peaceful environment but strongly lashed out at the economic policies of each other's governments.

The Opposition lawmakers in their proposals urged the  government to increase the salaries of the government upto twenty percent and wages of labourers at Rs25000. The government defending the budgetary proposals claimed that its third budget would bring prosperity and economic growth in the country. The MNAs from both sides also condemned the ugly scene in the Parliament, which happened three days before in the parliament house.

Bangladesh seeks UN intervention to end Rohingya crisis Some backbenchers availed the opportunity to speak on matters related to their constituencies instead of budgetary proposals. These MNAs expressed their concerns related to carving out a separate province, deprivation of Balochistan etc.

Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, taking part in the debate, delivered a hard hitting speech in which he strongly criticised the wrong economic policies of previous governments [PPP-P and PML-N].  Hammad Azhar said that the oil prices in Pakistan are lowest in the region. He said we have brought down the Petroleum Development Levy to two percent. The Minister said that the figures given by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on poverty and unemployment are full of contradictions. He reminded the PPP Chairman that the inflation rate in their era was much higher than the present 8.50 percent.

Both opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif and PPP-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari left the house when Hammad Azhar rose to deliver his speech. He challenged both the opposition leaders to stay in the house and listen to facts about their government’s wrong policies. “If you are not cowards then stay on your seats and listen to what I have to say. If you have the strength to hear the truth, then listen to what I have to say,” he challenged.

Israel to send 1M vaccine doses to Palestinian Authority in swap deal Azhar said that the PPP-P MNA [Bilawal] was criticising the government’s four percent economic growth. “In PPP’s five years of governance, there was not a single year where they achieved 4pc growth.” he said. About the allocations for BISP, he said the chairperson of the said program had recently been declared a proclaimed offender. “Some people were only getting stipends [from BISP] due to their affiliation with the PPP,” he said. Minister said, "If corruption had anything to do with development, Sindh would have progressed beyond California."

About PTI’s government, he said the first two years of the PTI government were spent on stabilising the economy, while the focus now was on growth.  He also claimed that foreign exchange reserves were the highest they had been in six years while the current account deficit was in surplus.

About agriculture reforms, he said this year the growers witnessed bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane and maize, the direct benefit of which was going to the farmers.

Pakistan army to modernise Artillery corps: COAS In response to the concerns raised by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he responded that the PTI was laying the foundation for "Riyasat-i-Madina" under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Chairman Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari taking part in the budget debate, said that without the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, the federal budget, and the budget session are illegal. “Every member has the right to participate in the budget session but the Speaker did not issue the production orders,” he said, mentioning that Syed  Khursheed Shah, Ali Wazir, and Khawaja Asif were deprived of their right to participate in the budget session. He demanded of the Speaker to issue the production orders of these members and provide them the opportunity to contribute.

Bilawal questioned, “If the opposition has to play the role of opposition and the government also has to play the role of opposition, then who will run the government?” He said that the government wanted the ‘PTIMF budget’ not to be exposed by not giving a chance to the opposition to talk on the budget.

Sindh, Punjab facing shortage of vaccines They believed that the wrong GDP growth rate and false economic growth would be hidden by suppressing the voice of opposition, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

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