ISLAMABAD: Former Interior Minister and Chairman Institute of Research and Reforms Rehman Malik has urged the government to present a people-friendly and pro-poor budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 

He said that in Pakistan, with a 14 percent inflation rate, there is a 30 percent rise in the poverty rate, 80.5 million people are standing on the edge of the poverty line due to which 15 to 20 people are ending their lives by committing suicide daily. 

The PPP leader said that renegotiations with the IMF are needed to revise the targets and there should be a target for a 1 percent decrease in the budget deficit and an increase in the capacity for the development budget by raising the development spending by 20 percent. 

He suggested that the salaries of the government servants should be increased by 75 percent and the Government must announce a special package for the private/daily wages employees for enhancement of their salaries by their employers. He said that Government should allocate special funds for self-employment business opportunities enabling those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, to get start their own small business. 

Malik said that at least Rs.150 billion should be allocated for the construction of hospitals/medical centres for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and for the purchase of modern medical equipment, protective kits (PPEs) for doctors, paramedical staff, army, rangers, police and other law enforcement agencies who are on the frontline during COVID-19. He suggested that salaries of the medical and Para-medical staff should be enhanced up to 75 percent and salaries of the media workers should be enhanced by 50 percent by their respective employers.

Former Interior Minister said that a special tax relief package should be given for agriculture i.e. wheat crops and livestock, dairy farming, etc. to provide relief to small farmers adding our future lies in agriculture and hence farmers should be supported with good economic packages as an incentive to increase the yield and to modernise agricultural farming. “The government should allocate more funds for the management of rainwater reservoirs in every district as a national water conservation programme” he added.

The PPP senior leader Senator Rehman Malik also advised that special funds should also be allocated for the construction of new small/mini dams in every district like China. He suggested that budgetary allocations for online education development programmes and Higher Education Commission (HEC) should be enhanced. 

He said that funds for improvement in the aviation sector and upgrade airports all over the country are needed to be allocated and the budget for LEAs must be doubled for their capacity building to ensure the rule of law. He urged that there should be a substantive increase in improving the investigation process by the provision of modern investigation tools and logistics to FIA and the Police and to upgrade the jails, government should allocate 5 billion for each. 

The government must finance easy loans for cheap housing schemes through house building corporations and special enactment may be brought to save the people from defrauding from private house building finance companies if allowed in the private sector, he suggested.