ISLAMABAD: The opposition members in the Senate on Friday walked out of the session after the government failed to adequately respond to PPP Parliamentary Leader Sherry Rehman’s five questions pertaining to the recent rupee devaluation and Pakistan’s spiraling economy.
Finance Minister Asad Umar was not present in Friday’s session.
Speaking on her calling attention notice, Sherry pointed out that, “It is rather troubling that the finance minister is readily available for media appearances and has answered more questions in talks shows and press conferences than he ever has in parliament”.
The senator then questioned the government on who is calling the shots on Pakistan’s economy.
“If the prime minister did not know about such a huge devaluation and yet the finance minister did, then who is in charge and who will take responsibility? Entire livelihoods were wiped out in the crash while they were celebrating their first 100 days in government,” she said.
“If the precipitous devaluation was not part of any International Monetary Fund (IMF) precondition to bring the rupee down to non-artificial rate, then why was it done in such a disastrous free-fall in two crashes? Either way why was the managed float not graduated down slowly?” asked the former Senate opposition leader.
Sherry added, “If the current account deficit will be fixed by this adjustment via a more robust export sector why are all the exporters saying that the crash is too steep and the comparative impact on imports is too high to help our exports?”
The senator also reiterated the importance of transparency. She said, “When a country’s currency crashes so fast in one or two days, then there has to be an inquiry into who traded on the inside and made a fortune, while others lost their businesses and savings. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should share its findings with parliament on which money changer or syndicate profited from the devaluation”.
“We are told the external account is under immense pressure but tell us if billions won’t be added to foreign debt as a result of the whopping exchange rate adjustment? It is the finance minister’s job to answer these five questions in parliament,” Sherry concluded.
PM HOUSE EXPENDITURE:
The government informed the Senate that during the last five years, more than Rs 2 billion was spent on the PM House.
According to the details conveyed, Rs380m in 2013-14, Rs370m in 2014-15, Rs410m in 2015-16, Rs500m in 2016-17 and more than Rs500m in 2017-18 were spent on the PM House.