Islamabad June 13 (TNS): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Tuesday that Pakistan has gained macroeconomic stability and now the focus was on achieving a 6 percent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP).
While wrapping up the budget debate in the National Assembly, Dar said that soon the 9th National Finance Commission Award will be announced after taking the federating units on board.
He said that Pakistan achieved the highest growth of 5.4 percent in the outgoing year while the total budget has been brought down from 8 percent to 4 percent. He said that the GDP growth will further expand to 7 percent next year, which will ultimately benefit the common man.
He said that out of 175 recommendations of the parliamentarians, 76 have been adopted in the financial bill 2017-18. The finance minister said that the government has given a subsidy of Rs22 billion to industries to help meet their energy demand. Dar also said that the total debt to the GDP has been brought to 59 percent in the last few years and the government has set a target to bring it down to 50 percent in the next 15 years.
He said that the minimum wage has been increased to Rs15,400 from Rs13,000.
Before the finance minister delivered the speech, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khurshid Shah delivered a hard-hitting speech and raised questions under what condition the government issued former army chief Raheel Sharif the NOC to lead the Saudi-led Islamic countries coalition. He questioned what the purpose and aims of the bloc.
He said that the opposition will listen to none other than the prime minister on the issue. He assured the government that the opposition members will not raise anti-Nawaz Sharif slogans if he appears in the Parliament to take in into confidence on important issues. He said that he was ready to resign if any of the opposition member raised anti-prime minister slogan. He said that the prime minister should brief the House on the ongoing diplomatic row between Qatar and Gulf States including Saudi Arabia.
After the opposition leader’s speech, the joint opposition staged a walkout and boycotted the session with a demand to summon the joint sitting of the Parliament to discuss budget proposals and other important issues.