MULTAN - Vice chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned on Saturday that the country would lose its economic sovereignty if the same situation persisted for next two or three years.

“You’ll forget drones. All of our financial decisions will be made by IMF and World Bank,” he added while addressing a news conference here at Multan Press Club.

He claimed that the government would have to announce a mini budget in ongoing financial year while it would go to IMF in coming September or October. “They already have some issues with IMF as a stabilization programme launched with the collaboration of IMF is suspended. If they advance any loan, it will be given on very tough conditions. The price will be paid by poor Pakistanis,” he maintained. He categorically declared that the prices would further soar while poverty and unemployment go up by the end of this financial year.

Quoting budget figures, he challenged finance minister that the budgetary deficit would not stay at 4.7 per cent and soar to 7.5 per cent. He added that the finance minister claimed to bring inflation down to nine per cent. “How will you do it? Your plan is to print more notes. Why don’t you explain your plan to the nation?” he posed questions to the finance minister. He said that the minister also claimed that the economic growth would become 4.5 per cent which was impossible as the average growth rate during last four years stood at mere three per cent.

He said that the revenue target was fixed at Rs2381 billion which was unrealistic figure. “Similarly, Rs873 billion is allocated for public sector development but they don’t have resources to generate these funds,” he claimed. He said that the government announced to generate 100,000 new internships but the country needed at least two million new jobs just to keep the unemployment at current level.

He pointed out that the public debt increased to Rs13 trillion from six trillion during the last four years. “It’s the result of poor performance of government that today world is calling Pakistan sick man of South Asia,” he added.

He said that every newborn was under Rs. 72000 debt. He said that at least 60 per cent of total revenue would be spent on debt service and therefore nothing would be left behind for other heads.

He pointed out that the value of rupee dipped by one-thirds while local business community shifted its businesses to Malaysia, Bangladesh and UAE.

He said that all sections of society including common citizens, economic experts and business community rejected the budget and declared it disappointing. “The economic experts are saying that this budget is 10 per cent reality and 90 per cent fantasy,” he added. He said that it was a ballet budget which was given the nation as lollypop. Citing the example of Q league, he said that it also presented a budget but lost the election. “Now the history will repeat itself and PPP will lose election,” he added. He said that the experts declared the budget non-serious and feared that it would leave devastating effects on the country. He said that a common citizen would pay the price of the mess the government would leave behind it. 

He said that all targets set in the budget were unrealistic and business community also expressed non-confidence on the government. He added that today investment rate stood at the lowest in the history of Pakistan with 12.5 per cent of GDP while foreign investors shied away. “The finance minister says that foreign investment worth $666 million is expected during this financial year which is also the lowest in country’s history,” he maintained. He said that common citizen was crushed by price hike while inflation was in double digit for the last five years. “Inflation is an unjust cruel tax that common citizens pay indirectly. They are busy in printing currency notes while the prices of utilities are continuously going up,” he added.