ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said the government had charted out a five-pronged strategy to address poverty alleviation to provide relief to the common man. The Prime Minister said the ingredients of strategy were cash support and skill development, good governance, energy sector reforms, political pluralism and national ownership of the country’s security strategy. Talking to parliamentarians who called on him separately at his chamber in the Parliament House, the Prime Minister said the pro-people budget was a step towards macroeconomic stability and provision of relief to the common man.He said the government was receiving positive feedback from different sections of society on the budget 2011-12.
He said the government gave 50 per cent increase in salaries last year and 15 per cent this year along with 25 per cent enhancement of conveyance allowance for grade 1-15 besides increase of pension by 15-20 per cent. He said the government did not impose any new tax in the budget, instead it reduced general sales tax by one per cent and abolished flood surcharge and special excise duty. The Prime Minister said the government raised the tax exemption limit from Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 350,000 to benefit low-income groups. He said Rs. 730 billion had been earmarked for the Public Sector Development Programme and Rs. 500 billion extra provided for under the NFC. He said in order to support the poorest of the poor, the government allocated Rs. 65 billion for cash transfer through Benazir Income Support Programme.
He said that regulatory duty had been abolished on 392 commodities. The Prime Minister said 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 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 were a manifestation of his government’s pro-people policies. The Prime Minister said that it was incumbent upon parliamentarians, particularly those belonging to treasury benches, that they promote democratic and parliamentary norms in the society. He said socio-economic development could not take place in the absence of political stability.
He said in order to fight off the challenges at the external front, there was 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 Tuesday evening’s briefing of the Prime Minister on budget. He demanded allocation of more funds for Cheecha Watni Ghala Mandi and improvement projects. He invited the Prime Minister to inaugurate Harppa-Cheecha Watni bypass and gas supply schemes in his constituency.
MNA Nawab Sher Waseer invited the Prime Minister to visit his constituency for inaugurating gas supply schemes provided to 40 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. 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. – APP