Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that the government has charted out a five-pronged strategy to address poverty alleviation through cash support and skill development, good governance, energy sector reforms, political pluralism and national ownership of Pakistan’s security strategy to solve the problems confronting the nation and provide relief to the common man. The pro-people budget 2011-12, he said, is a step towards macroeconomic stability and provision of relief to the common man. He said that the government was receiving positive feedback from different sections of society on the budget 2011-12.
The Prime Minister expressed these views while talking to Parliamentarians who called on him separately at his chamber in the Parliament House today.
The Prime Minister said that the government gave 50 percent increase in salaries last year and 15 percent this year along with 25 percent enhancement of conveyance allowance for grade1-15 besides increase of pension by 15% to 20%. He said that the government did not impose any new tax in the budget, instead reduced general sales tax by 1%, and abolished flood surcharge and special excise duty.
The Prime Minister said that the government raised the tax exemption limit from Rs. 300,000/- to Rs. 350,000 to benefit low-income groups. He said that Rs. 730 billion have been earmarked for Public Sector Development Program and Rs. 500 billion extra have been provided for under the NFC. In order to support the poorest of the poor, the government allocated Rs. 65 billion for cash transfer to through Benazir Income Support Program. He said that regulatory duty has been abolished on 392 commodities.
The Prime Minister said that the government was working on a holistic agenda to make up for the energy deficits that slowed down national growth and created unemployment. He said that it allocated Rs. 32.5 billion for budget 2011-12 to fast-track various power projects.
He maintained that these and other measures contained in the budget are a manifestation of his government’s pro-people policies.
The Prime Minister observed that it is incumbent upon parliamentarians, particularly those belonging to treasury benches, that they promote democratic and parliamentary norms in society. He said that socio-economic development could not take place in the absence of political stability. He further stated that in order to fight off the challenges at the external front, there is a need to forge unity within the broad spectrum across political and social divide. The Prime Minister added that the government would welcome the proposals of the opposition.
The parliamentarians appreciated the efforts of economic team of the Prime Minister. MNA Ch. Zahid Iqbal appreciated last evening’s briefing of the Prime Minister on budget. He demanded allocation of more funds for Cheecha Watni Ghala Mandi, improvement projects. He invited the Prime Minister to inaugurate Harppa-Cheecha Watni bypass and gas supply schemes in his constituency.
MNA Nawab Sher Waseer also invited the Prime Minister to visit his constituency for inaugurating gas supply schemes provided to forty towns and settlements. The parliamentarians apprised the Prime Minister about status of various development schemes launched under last fiscal year’s PSDP in their constituencies. They also discussed new development schemes to be launched in their constituencies to improve the civic amenities.
Mr. Babur Khan Ghauri, Minister for Ports and Shipping, MNA Mrs Bushra Rehman, MNA Sahibzada Syed Murtaza Amin and MNA Nawab Sher Waseer called on the Prime Minister.
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