A key government ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), on Friday termed the federal budget 2012-13 a 'traditional' one, as it lacked any relief for the masses. Commenting on the budget, MQM's parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar neither rejected nor owned the fifth budget of the PPP government-led, but strongly advocated the party's 'shadow budget' presented the party on Tuesday.
He, however, said that the Prime Minister had assured his party that proposals presented in the 'shadow budget' would be incorporated in the federal budget. "We have been given assurance that MQM's recommendations would be considered so that the budget could be made non-traditional," he said.
Lamenting that the national economy was on the verge of collapse, he said that the energy crisis had made people's lives miserable. Under such circumstances, he said, the budget would be unable to shape the lives of the masses. Terming petroleum levy extortion, Dr Sattar said that it should be abolished and the masses should be given maximum relief, adding that the time had come to give relief to the common man and tax the rich and feudal lords. He said that the MQM had also proposed in its shadow budget that petroleum levy should be abolished and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) should be revived through public-private partnership to control losses.
Calling for immediate reduction in sales tax from 16 percent to 12 percent, lowering of maximum rate of import duty to 10-15 percent with a minimum rate of 5 percent and abolition of the SRO system.
He said that an income generation programme should supplement income support programmes. He said that that the government should focus on increasing investment opportunities to revive the economy and stabilise the country, adding that investment in the country would increase employment opportunities. The government, he said, should reduce prices of oil, electricity tariff and prices of edible items, benefiting the people the most. Dr Sattar, however, welcomed the 20 percent increase in salaries of government employees and also demanded that the maximum wage of a labourer should be fixed at Rs 12,000 per month.