Asad Umar may have resigned as finance minister but he still has some suggestions for the government on its new budget.
During Thursday’s budget session at the National Assembly, Umar discussed why the budget was the way it was (strict measures are needed to fix the economy) and some ways in which it could be improved.
While the government is working to reduce expenses and curb imports, it must also boost exports and increase investment coming into Pakistan, he advised. This is a budget for tough times, he said, urging the government to try and shield the poorest section of society as much as it can from the effects of the budget.
Umar said the government was working to help businesses improve their exports and resolve their liquidity problems and needed to continue this. Discussing the finance adviser’s move to tax the domestic sales of textiles, Umar said he understood his motives in not wanting to lose that tax. But as we have all learned, this system isn’t one where you can press a button and the result comes out, he said.
He urged the government to adopt a zero rated change – no liquidity crisis
We are correcting five years of incorrect policies by the PML-N government, don’t take steps to break the trust of exporters, he cautioned the government. Umar also asked the government to reconsider its taxes on sugar, cooking oil and ghee, as it was affecting the poor more than anyone else. He also called for an investigation into why sugar prices were increasing so rapidly.
The former finance minister also advised the government to reconsider its new duties on smaller cars.