The House is continuing discussion on the budget for next fiscal year.
Responding to the points of PPP Leader Syed Naveed Qamar in National Assembly, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured that all resources will be utilized to cope with the challenge posed by locusts.
He said a comprehensive plan in this regard has also been prepared. He said a coordinated effort is required to deal with the issue. He said we are thankful to the Armed Forces of Pakistan for extending cooperation in the fight against locusts.
The Foreign Minister said resources have been allocated in the Budget for the water reservoirs to meet the issue of water shortages.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has expressed the commitment to develop the agriculture sector on scientific lines in order to enhance yield of major crops including wheat, cotton and rice.
Speaking in the National Assembly today [Thursday], he said China has agreed to transfer technology in the agriculture sector under the second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said Human Resource Development will also be carried out under this cooperation.
The Minister said the government also plans to establish a Research Centre to promote organic farming.
Fakhar Imam said Pakistan would not require loans from IMF and Asian Development Bank if the cotton production is doubled in the country.
He said research is required to enhance per acre yield of Wheat crop.
The House is now considering the recommendations forwarded by Senate for incorporation in the finance bill 2020-21.
Participating in the debate, Amir Dogar said a balanced budget has been presented for the next fiscal year in face of the challenge posed by COVID-19. He expressed the confidence the government will deliver on its promises as per the expectations of the masses. He said it is the first time that the health budget has been doubled to 115 billion rupees.
Ahsan Iqbal said a national effort is required to revive the economy as no single party can tackle the current challenges. He said the economic targets set for the next year are unrealistic. He said the growth cannot be achieved by cutting the development outlay. He said we need to invest in science and technology to take forward the country.
Jai Parkash was appreciative of the 1200 billion rupees stimulus package given by government to support different segments of the society amidst Covid-19. He condemned the atrocities unleashed by the Modi government against Muslims in India and occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Rao Muhammad Ajmal said the agriculture sector should be supported to ensure food security in these difficult times. He said aircraft and other equipment should immediately be procured to fight locusts. He said apart from reducing input costs of the farmers, support price should be announced for the major crops.
Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid commended the government for giving importance to the health sector in the budget. She said there are currently 129 laboratories across the country where the testing capacity for Coronavirus has significantly been enhanced.
Nasir Iqbal said relief should be provided to farmers to enhance the agriculture yield.
Shandana Gulzar Khan said it is a pro-poor, pro-business and pro-agriculture budget. She said the government launched Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to save the people from starvation.
Begum Tahira Bukhari regretted that no increase has been given to the employees in the budget.
Muhammad Iqbal Khan said special focus should be given to the development of tribal districts. He said local government elections should be held in tribal districts to ensure immediate redressal of problems faced by the local people.
Maleeka Bokhari said the government’s policies are aimed at protecting the poor segments of the society. She said the world institutions are hailing the government’s Ehsaas program.
Malik Umar Aslam stressed for doubling exports and remittances to steer the country out of current economic challenges. He said technical education should be imparted to the youth so that they could exploit job opportunities both at home and abroad.
Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said Port Qasim Authority has registered the highest revenues over the last two years. He said Port Qasim remained operational regardless of the breakout of COVID-19. He said the industrial infrastructure plan of Port Qasim has been finalized. He said Afghan Transit Trade has been started from Gwadar Port. He said a shipping policy has been introduced to take advantage of the blue economy.
Speaking in the house, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the government must invest in the health infrastructure to cope with the rising cases of Covid-19.
He said we have to take steps to protect our people. He emphasized the need for launching awareness campaigns in regional languages to sensitize the people about the Standard Operating Procedures against Covid-19.
PML (N) Parliamentary Leader Khawaja Asif criticized the government’s policies on the internal and external fronts.
He voiced concerns over increasing inflation and poverty.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar has categorically stated that the federal government has not withheld any funds of the provinces under the National Finance Commission.
Winding up discussion on the Budget for the next fiscal year in the National Assembly today, he said that 565 billion rupees were transferred to Sindh last month while 88 billion rupees additional were provided to Balochistan.
He said under the federal annual Public Sector Development Program for the next fiscal year, Balochistan has been given the biggest share followed by Sindh.
Hammad Azhar said the Foreign Exchange Reserves grew by five billion dollars whereas current account deficit and trade deficit reduced by 73 and 33 percent in the first nine months of fiscal year.