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Budget War

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Budget War and what is in it for common citizens


Annual budget in democracies is such an important event that involves every one. There is much hype and hoopla before and after. As the fiscal year comes to close and governments begin preparing the budget, economists start debating fiscal issues and policies in the media, pointing out the implications on national economy as a whole and effects on common population. Lots of interest is generated and masses wait for the budget statement with enthusiasm, hoping for the relief mainly. Other stallholders like industries and corporate sectors also try to influence the budget makers by highlighting their needs during the preparatory process.

But not much happens here. At least nothing seems to be happening. No body waits for the budget speech any more. For couple of past years, the federal budgets here have reduced to yet another official exercise devoid of any substance. They neither address long term development programs nor give any immediate respite to the commoners. All those who have been following the budget promises in the past will testify that whatever was announced can hardly be seen on ground.

People are not interested in the budget because budget exercise is not for the people of the country. There is nothing for us in the budget," says Abbas Khan, a senior citizen," its usual significance is lost over the last few years because of deregulation and privatization that de-links the utility prices (natural gas, electricity, oil, telecom and commodities) from the federal budget. These prices are fixed separately on quarterly, monthly and even fortnightly basis. We come to know when a vendor selling lady fringes (bhindi) tell that vegetable prices have shot up because prices of petrol have increased or when meat seller charges more on account of increase in the cost of iron ore." What has prices of petrol or iron ore to do with the lady fingerer or meat one wonders?
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, September 19, 2018, ,


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