ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday demanded 15-25 per cent increase in salaries of government employees, exemption of duty on raw material for medicines and end to issuance of SROs.
Opening general debate on the budget for 2014-15 in Senate, he said 10 per cent increase in salary and pension was tantamount to peanut as inflation has increased manifold. ” The 10 percent increase in salaries and pensions of the federal government employees as adhoc relief is not acceptable as this does not consumerate with the cost of living,” he said.
He alleged that the budget was business friendly rather poor friendly as relief was announced for the capitalists and rich.
Raza Rabbani said that the budget was unique as resources for the poor were being transferred to the ruling elite. The budget would widen gap between rural and urban areas of the country, he added. He said that although the government has fixed the minimum
wages at Rs 12000 but this was too meager to the price hike.
EOBI pension should be increased to Rs.6000 from Rs.3000, he added. Rabbani said that the imposition of taxes particularly on edible and medical items would have a direct inflationary impact on the purchasing power of the ordinary citizen.
He said that as per the economic survey 2013-14, the unemployment has increased in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan except in Sindh.
He also alleged that the federal government was also transferring the Provincial surplus to the federation to cover the budget deficit which was also violation of the constitution.
He also criticized the federal budget for allocating hefty amount to education and health sectors and said that both the ministries have been devolved to the provinces under the 18th amendment.
He also stressed the need of implementation of article 172(3) of the constitution which pertains and deals with the ownership of provinces of the natural resources, more particularly, oil and gas. He alleged that no mechanism was devised so far to implement
it in letter and spirit, he added.
Regarding power load-shedding, Raza Rabbani said that 12-14 hours load-shedding was being carried out across the country despite clearing Rs.480 billion circular debt.
Rabbani said that the Federal Board of Revenue has missed its tax collection targets of Rs.2275 billion and collected only Rs1890 billion till May 26.
He said that the SROs were illegal under Article 162 and the SRO issuing culture should be abolished.
Rabbani alleged that Sindh Province was ignored in the budget and the federal government has excluded provisoin for 11 mega development projects including Lyari Express Way, the K-IV mega water supply programme, the S-III sewerage treatment project for Karachi, the Karachi circular railway etc, proposed by the provincial government.
He also alleged that the government doled out Rs 36 million to pay for advertisement bills of the Commission constituted to select heads of state-run enterprises which could not appoint even a single head of any institution.