“Budget speech to be Sharif's next big moment”



Islamabad: The budget speech will be the next big moment for Nawaz Sharif's government, a leading Pakistani daily said and added that Pakistanis will then come to know "how much its thinking is out of the box".

"With the inaugural address behind us, the next big moment when the newly minted government of Nawaz Sharif will speak will be the budget speech...it is the budget speech where the team will, for the first time, unveil its mettle," said an editorial in the Dawn.

"It’ll be in the budget speech that we will hear how far its ambitions extend, how much its thinking is out of the box, as they say. All eyes and thoughts are now going to steadily swivel towards the team working on the budget, and the macroeconomic challenges as well as the power crisis, to see what it has come up with," it said.

Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday became the first man to be elected prime minister in the country for a third time.

The daily observed that the "immediate danger is that after all the hype, after all the build-up and all the talk of a stable mandate and taking the bull by the horns rhetoric, the government will pull little more than a few rabbits out of its hat on that momentous occasion".

It said that if the budget speech has "a tweak or two to federal excise duties, an adjustment in the sales tax rate or other tinkering", it will only hasten the day when people begun to wonder the difference the present government and the previous one.

"On the other hand, a bombastic approach, signaled perhaps by an overambitious revenue target and an equally pie-in-the-sky expenditure target, will draw groans of disappointment."

The editorial went on to say that people are looking for both from this government: realistic promises as well as solutions to enormous problems.

"Living up to both ends of this bargain pulls the government in two opposing directions."

IANS