Opp says all budget targets unrealistic, demands review

ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Tuesday demanded the government review the budget it presented in the House, “as all the targets in it are unrealistic”. Shah termed the implementation of statutory orders before the approval of the budget as breach of privilege of parliament. Resuming the debate on the budget, he spoke at length on the issue for more than two hours, digressing occasionally from the budget debate by touching upon political issues. Shah came with well-prepared to talk extensively on the various sectors of the economy and the different features of the budget. At the outset of the proceedings, he pointed to the alleged violation of rules and regulations by the government.
The opposition leader noted that under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the government is bound to keep the debt-to-GDP ratio up to sixty percent; but it presently stands at 62.5 percent which, he said, is a blatant violation of the rules approved by parliament. “What would be the legal status of the budget document if we indulge in violation of the acts passed by parliament?” he asked. Shah described the bypassing of the standing committees of the House in the budget-making another violation of the PML-N government. He noted that one of government ministers, Anusha Rahman, had in the last PPP government brought amendments in the rules which stipulate that the standing committees would scrutinise the PSDP before the House gives approval to the budget..
He was also critical about some of the projects like the metro bus for the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and said that billions of rupees are being spent on it although no allocation was made for it in the last budget. “Where did the Rs 28 billion for the metro bus project come from and who gave its approval when the budget document of the fiscal year 2013-14 did not have any allocation for it?” Shah questioned.

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