Mirza Ikhtiyar Baig (Economist): It is good news that the incumbent government managed to avert default despite serious inherited challenges. Although there is immense pressure from external payments, the government has managed the balance of payments. The commercial loan roll over by China and soft deposits from Saudi Arabia and UAE is a great relief for our foreign reserves and also supported the government to avert default threats. The Prime Minister allocated 1100 billion for the Public Sector Development projects that will drive the economic activities and new job opportunities will be created in the country. Unfortunately, the prevailing economic situation in Pakistan is alarming as there is decline in exports and Foreign Direct Investment. The Prime Minister announced a fixed tax regime in order to promote the IT sector. Almost 4.5 billion dollars target is set for the IT export. The government is also confident in the IMF bailout package as we have fulfilled all the requirements of the IMF. Now the IMF has imposed some conditions including revenue increase to be a part of the upcoming budget. Moreover, the IMF wants to reduce the gap of dollar between the interbank and open market rate. Meanwhile, the IMF also wants the addition of new tax payers into the tax regime rather than to put the burden of taxes on the existing tax payers. The government is also keen to provide cheap petrol to small vehicles.
Qaisar Sheikh (Leader, PML-N): There is no doubt the current economic situation in the country is very critical. The industrial growth is negative and there is also reduction in growth. The foreign remittances have also reduced to a great extent. The legacy of the previous government and the devastating floods also contributed to the difficulties for the government. The Foreign Direct Investment always remains the main contributor in the economic development of any country. However, political instability is the main hurdle in attracting FDI. Economic development needs comprehensive and consistent economic policies. In this year's budget the government is paying special attention to provision of quality education, vocational training to the youth, boosting IT sector and improving agriculture sector.