Dubai: Pakistani expatriates in the UAE have strongly reacted to the first budget presented by the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government on Tuesday.
Most of them believe that the overseas Pakistanis have again been neglected in the Rs6 trillion (Dh147.32) budget. They said that they had high hopes of getting some good incentives as were promised by Imran Khan but he just like the previous government has also ignored them despite the fact they have been the lifeline for the Pakistan economy by sending more than US$2billion remittance during the last fiscal year.
Gulf News spoke to cross section of Pakistani expatriates in the UAE. This is what they say:
Mohammad Nafeez, Dubai based Pakistani chartered accountant
The main objective of the budget has been to increase revenue and decrease expenditure. The freezing of defense budget and reduction in salaries of Cabinet members is a commendable act. However, the reality has been to increase revenue and development expenditure which will has to come from the pockets of the general public.
Overall it is a budget asking for sacrifices from everyone to support the economy at least for a period 2-3 years till such time it recovers. As usual there is very little of overseas Pakistanis in this budget except to invest in bonds at the rate of 6.75%.
Iqbal Dawood, President Pakistan Business Council, Dubai
Well, though General Sales Tax (GST) has not been increased, the fact is that lot of new taxes and duties have been increased which will hurt the common people and will lead to further price hike. It seems the government was left with no other option to collect revenue.
It is good to note that the import duty on more than 1600 raw materials have been reduced. This will encourage industries to grow in the country. Allocation of funds for infrastructure development and the energy projects is also good step.
Malik Zaheer Awan, President of Council of Pakistani Engineers in the UAE
It's a difficult time for Pakistan and as a nation we all need to support our government to get out of this financial turmoil with realistic approach. Increase in education budget and cutting expense must be appreciated. Overall, it’s not ideal budget but it has better realistic approach. We believe with honest leadership eventually we will overcome the economic crisis.
Irfan Afsar Awan, Former President PTI, Dubai
During this tough economic times, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf budget is a clear display of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s intent to stand with the weak and deprived. Increasing salaries of low and middle class government employees by 10 per cent is a good relief for them. Some 10 per cent cut in salaries of ministers and advisors is another welcome step. Fixing minimum wages at Rs17,500 is yet another step toward safeguarding the rights of the low income group. I also appreciate the government for allocating Rs 28,646 million for the ongoing and new schemes for the higher education
Dr Ateeque Naqvi, Medical director and consultant
I appreciate that Prime Minister Imran Khan did not increase burden of taxes on general public but no incentives have been announced for the foreign investors. Imran has been promising relief for overseas Pakistanis who are backbone of the country’s economy due to heavy remittances they send, but they are again ignored. We as overseas Pakistanis are disappointed as we were expecting some relief from the government in terms of educational, health and investment projects. The government also needs to explain tax policy for Pakistani expatriates.
Ahmad Shaikhani, Dubai based real estate developer
I believe that the government has not given any relief to the masses as was promised by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Prices of most of commodities have already increased a lot during the past six months. This is high deficit budget which will have further make life of masses difficult with a lot of indirect taxation. Also, it is sad to note that the Pakistani expatriates have again been ignored in the budget as it had been done in the past by the previous governments. I must appreciate cut in salaries of ministers and advisors and the 10 per cent increase in salaries of public employees
Shabbir Merchant, Pakistani businessman in Dubai
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has presented a balanced budget but it has not given the promised relief for the poor of the country especially after massive price hike and devaluation of the rupee during the last 10 months.
I appreciate 10 per cent cut in salaries of ministers and advisors. The government has taken good step by fixing the minimum income for salaried class to pay taxes. But I must say that overseas Pakistanis especially those living Gulf countries were expecting some incentives as they send the highest amount of remittances to their country.
Rafiq Hakim Ally, Dubai based freelance photographer
Awami (masses) Budget is a political term used for public consumption only by politicians whom we elect spending tax payer’s money. This budget is no different. Besides, like every post IMF Bailout Package budget, this time also taxes and cost of living raising steps introduced that will make the cost of survival more unbearable for the blue and white collared workers.
I hope the government will focus more in meeting huge challenges to the economy by resources other than burdening the nation. Only then, we the nation, will agree to make sacrifices for a better future, which we all have to.