Rawalpindi-The general public and government employees termed the budget announced by the federal government for fiscal year 2022-23 as anti-poor.

The budget offered no relief for the common man and instead favoured the rich and the elite, they said.

However, the business community and farmers termed it business-friendly budget.  All Pakistan Clerks Association Rawalpindi Chapter rejected the increase in the salaries and pensions of the government employees. “We rejected the peanuts by the government as inflation increased by 100 percent,” said APCA Rawalpindi Chapter President Chaudhry Waheed Murad while talking to media men on Friday.

He said that the government employees were facing problem to manage their household budgets but the government did not pay attention. He said that the prices of edibles, school and university fees of the children increased manifold and in limited salaries how can we run our houses.

On the other hand, the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has termed the fiscal budget 2022-23 as a balanced one under a challenging economic environment. RCCI President Nadeem Rauf while giving remarks after the budget speech said that a detailed version will be presented after looking at the budget documents.

He said that there are several announcements in the budget which need clarification. The announcement of setting up of ADRC for resolving tax disputes is a welcome step, however, the business community has reservations on setting up a 10 crore limit and mechanism. Similarly, the announcement of tax on immovable property needs clarification. He cautioned that this may push people for non-filing or benami which is against the true spirit of documentation.

While lauding the fixed tax scheme for small traders, Nadeem Rauf said this will increase the tax net.

The tax exemption on solar panels is appreciable, as it will ease load on power management. A significant amount of Rs 364 billion has been allocated for Benazir Income Support. This will provide relief to the marginalised sections of the society. For those earning less than Rs 40,000, a monthly announcement of Rs 2,000 is also a welcome step. The announcement of incentives for IT and textiles is a welcome step. Five to 10 year tax rebates on investments in the IT sector are welcome.

Allocation of Rs73 billion on electricity will help improve the transmission system. The export target for next year has been set to 35 billion dollars, which is a realistic one.

Nadeem Rauf said that a big relief has been given to the salaried class, changing the tax slab from Rs6 lakh to Rs12 lakh and for AOPs from Rs4 lakh to Rs6 lakh.

Furthermore, the residents of various areas of Rawalpindi and the garrison city were of the view that the prices of cooking oil and other edibles reached beyond the limits of the common man. “The wheat flour is available in the market but we cannot eat only wheat flour and there was need to buy meat, vegetables and other items,” said Azam Khan, a resident of Raja Bazaar.

Zarak Ahmed, a private employee, said that the fares of public transport increased manifold after surge in petroleum prices. He said that there was need to get more relief in the budget but the government turned blind eye.

Irshad Janjua, a student, said the government had given no relief to already poverty stricken people. He said the prices of edibles are touching the sky but the government announced no cut on prices of the daily use items.