ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the government is “putting Pakistan at stake, for a mere $1 billion”.
Speaking during a session of the National Assembly the PML-N president said that $1 billion can be arranged mutually, “let’s talk about this issue in the House.”
If the government decides to stand against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the public interest the Opposition will support it, Shahbaz said.
The Opposition is ready to support the government if it rejects the conditions put forth by the Fund, he added.
Shahbaz underlined that Pakistan is currently one of the most expensive countries of the world. Highlighting the “unnecessary taxes” in the supplementary finance bill, he said that countries are reducing taxes while the PTI government is imposing additional taxes.
He regretted that general sales tax is being imposed on children’s milk even.
‘We extended our support for FATF ’
Shahbaz said: “I said earlier that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Today they [the government] have proved me right. Rome is burning and Nero is playing the fiddle.”
The Opposition cooperated with the ruling PTI government for removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list. However, “we were called thieves,” the Opposition leader said.
The PML-N leader told the House that it “wasn’t former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif or Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who stood on the container and said that if the power tariff is increased, then the prime minister of that time is a thief”. “
This was said the current Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.
‘Agriculture, industries in a terrible state’
Shahbaz highlighted that the government has proposed taxes on the export of machinery for charitable hospitals along with increasing taxes on exports of equipment used for treatment of TB and cancer patients.
He added that in the supplementary finance bill, the government has also proposed an increase in taxes on the export of raw material required for the production of medicines, “which will eventually increase the price of medicines in the country”.
Shedding light on the agriculture sector, the Opposition leader said that Pakistan was self-sufficient in agricultural produce a few years back, however, because of the incumbent government, the country now has to import wheat and sugar.
“How will we promote agriculture if they are imposing additional taxes on the import of agricultural implements and machinery?” he questioned.
Recalling the time when PML-N was in power, he said that during their tenure, the price of urea was Rs1,200 and today the price is around Rs3,700.
Meanwhile, the price of DAP (diammonium phosphate) during PML-N’s tenure was Rs2,400, while currently the price is around Rs9,500, that too in the black market.
“Agriculture, industry, businesses and the common man, all are in a terrible state,” Shahbaz said.
More to follow.