ISLAMABAD -  Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt has said that budget lacks any relief for small traders as it has ignored masses and preferred voters over investors.

Masses will find it difficult to get cheap food items as the budget of Utility Stores Corporation has been slashed from Rs7 billion to Rs4 billion, he said. As usual, parliament and masses have been kept out of the budget making process while bureaucrats have finalised it secretly, he added.

He said that expenditures have been increased by two percent which would be later revised while developmental budget has been hiked by 25 percent which is difficult to finance as 45 percent of the revenue goes in debt servicing.

Shahid said that tax worth billions of rupees have been slapped, while the target of FBR has been increased by 14 percent to 4.33 trillion which will target local taxpayers. FBR has always failed to meet the target turning to highhandedness which will create problems for the local business community, he added.

The business leader said that one percent cut in corporate tax is meaningless while subsidies on fertiliser, power, tubewells, wheat etc has been slashed from Rs140.6 billion to Rs138.84 billion. He regretted that the construction sector which was performing well and showing growth of nine percent which has been burdened with taxes which should be reversed. However, the expenditure on subsidies always cross the limit which will be repeated, he said, adding that the budget of Utility Stores Corporation should be revised to provide relief to masses. He said that the budget document indicates mini budgets in future and a possibility of more IMF loans to stabilise shrinking forex reserves.