Sherry Rehman questions govt’s economic wisdom

Islamabad: After unjustified tariff hikes, now the government is thinking to renegotiate the IMF agreement, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman said Tuesday.

“We have been saying the exact thing but were always told by U-turn Sarkar that they are on the right track. As always, the parliament has not been taken on board on any policy, either now or earlier. What exactly is their plan,” she said.

The Senator said if the government has already agreed with the IMF to increase the petroleum levy from Rs510 billion in 2021 to Rs607 billion in 2022 and increase the gas tariff by an additional Rs100 billion, then how do they plan on controlling inflation in the country? Are they going to compensate people for all the jobs lost and the families destroyed? Since the last two years, the per unit price of electricity has gone up by 200% and now finally the government has woken up to realise that the increase in the electricity tariff was indeed unreasonable”.

“Since day one, we warned the PTI government that IMF’s policies would burden the poor but no one paid any heed. Now, after leaving Pakistan’s economy on the ventilator, over burdening the masses with back to back tariff and taxes, PTI government realises that IMF’s tariffs are “unjustifiable”. We have never seen anything like this before in the past,” added Rehman

Addressing the increasing inflation in the country, Rehman said, “It is shocking that Pakistan’s inflation rate for April has skyrocketed to a whopping 11.1%, which is even higher than the projection given by the Ministry of Finance. This inflationary spiral caused by the government is condemnable”.

“Tabahi Sarkar has lost control. The economy is on a ventilator, people are struggling to buy ration for Ramzan and the vaccination drive is abysmally slow as vaccines have not been ordered. Debt and poverty in the country is increasing at an astonishing rate. What is the government’s plan on creating more jobs and reducing the public debt?” she questioned.

Rehman said, “Our agriculture sector has been neglected and now the food inflation hovers around 15% which is the highest in South Asia. Prices of chicken have shot up by 100%, sugar 18%, wheat 17% and oil 19%. Is this the way to provide relief to people in Ramzan? Over the past 2.5 years, the price of sugar and wheat has gone up by 100% which is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan”.

“There have been 5 big petrol hikes already in 2021, and now another petrol bomb is expected next month. Despite the petrol crisis report 2020, the government is silent. What happened to accountability or is that only reserved for the opposition? Creating artificial shortages and destroying our industries has become the norm for Tabahi Sarkar but when it comes to doing real work, this government is oblivious. There’s an army of ministers who are either busy in targeting the opposition or keeping up with their media appearances,” she added.

Vice President PPPP Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying that, “Visiting markets and abusing officers will not provide relief to people. What the country needs right now is an action plan with strong economic policies. People are now tired of false promises. A government which is confused itself, takes hasty decisions and is then forced to review them later, how will it run a country? Pakistan is not a training ground for incompetent people to practice on. The government should apologize to the people and resign”.