The National Assembly on Friday echoed with strong calls directed at the government to provide more relief to the people by making the federal budget 2024-25 pro-pubic and pro-business.

The calls were made as the Lower House of the Parliament continued with the debate on the budget for the year 2024-25. Legislators urged the government to focus on people-oriented policies and provide more relief to the agriculture and information technology sectors.

Taking part in the discussion, MQM-P’s Dr Farooq Sattar stressed the need to do away from the continuity of traditional budgeting and suggested that deliberate efforts should be made to make the budget pro-people and pro-business for sustainable growth.

The MQM-P leader said there should be a difference between an overtaxed or wrongly-taxed budget and growth-oriented budget. He said exorbitantly higher prices of electricity, gas, potable water and petroleum are the fundamental issues of the common people, which need to be addressed on priority basis.

He said agricultural income of feudal and big landlords should be brought under the tax net instead of overburdening the salaried class with more taxes.

Farooq Sattar termed the budget for 2024-25 as traditional, reflecting a continuity of policies from the past 77 years. “The country’s current debt servicing issues, noting that most budget allocations are used for this purpose,” he added.

The MQM leader said, “It is the government’s responsibility to prepare the budget with the public’s issues in mind. Unfortunately, every budget seems to favour the wealthy.”

Farooq Sattar urged the government to focus on the agriculture sector and criticized the imposition of more taxes on salaried individuals. He called for relief measures for the poor in the budget and asked the government to revise the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

He stressed the need to resolve Karachi’s water issues and to allocate more funds to improve the city’s drain system. He also advocated for more incentives to attract foreign direct investment and for policies that encourage a growth-oriented economy.

Sunni Ittehad Council’s Rana Atif thanked his party for giving him the opportunity to contest the elections and promote the party’s vision. He highlighted the issues of his constituency and asked the government to solve these issues of every district without discrimination.

He called for the government to address the issue of IPP capacity payments and to take steps to further enhance the country’s imports.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Asia Naz Tanoli said that in 2018, the government solved the issue of load-shedding and that during the PML-N tenure, more funds were allocated for development projects. She recalled that the PML-N government saved the country from bankruptcy and sacrificed its politics.

She said, “Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif always worked for the development of the country, and that global confidence in the country improved during their tenure.” She asked the government to start metro bus services from Taxila to Islamabad.

Sunni Ittehad Council’s Omer Farooq thanked his party chairman for awarding him ticket and appreciated the people of his constituency for electing him. He said that the issue of corruption should be resolved.

Farooq advocated for more relief to the agricultural, industrial, and information technology sectors as these sectors would create more job opportunities for the people. He also highlighted the issue of law and order in his constituency.