Pakistan Awami Tehreek organizes pre-budget seminar
Speaking in a pre-budget seminar orgnaized by Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the speakers have demanded the establishment of budget regulatory authority, formation of a think tank to oversee the economic affairs and sought an end to practice of mini budgets. They said that there should be a system of regulatory and audit system. The budgetary allocations on health and education should be 5% and 6% of Gross Domestic Product respectively and natural resources should be put to judicious use. White elephant instituions like WAPDA, KESC, Railways and Steel Mill should be privatized and billions of rupees saved from their privatization should be spent on people’s welfare. The prices of necessities of life should be brought down by giving subsidy on them. The incredible hike in Petrol prices should be scaled down to 40 rupees per liter. Effective mechanism should be put in place to bring to an end to a culture of corruption defined by its whooping 400 billion rupees. Discretionary financial powers of the President and the PM should be curtailed. Former finance minister Salman Shah, Nazim-e-Ala Dr Raheeq Ahmad Abbasi, Anwar Akhtar Advocate, Dr Shahid Zia, Muhammad Ibrahim, Brig. (r ) Farooq Hameed Khan, Nazir Ahmad Khan, Mehnaz Rafi, Dr Aslam Khan and Shaukat Bhatti spoke in the seminar. PAT president, Faiz-ur-Rehman Durrani presided over the seminar. The speakers expressed the need to increase the salary and pension of government employees as per the inflation rate and end the perks of top bureaucrats. They said that the big fish should be brought within the tax net instead of imposing Vale Added Tax. They said that Pakistan had the potential of becoming a great financial power if its human resource is properly made use of. The cruel clutches of the IMF and the World Bank can be thrown away only if we focus on development of indigenous resources. They said called for ban on the import of luxury vehicles and adopt the culture of 800 CC vehicles as was done in the Junejo government. They criticized the Benazir Income Support Programme and demanded that the money under the programme should be spent directly on the welfare of poor people. They also called for separation of economic decision-making from politics. The speakers demanded that the agriculture should be declared as industry and policy attention should be focused on this vital sector of economy.