NA mini-budget session adjourns without vote

The National Assembly session discussing the recently presented mini-budget was adjourned on Friday without a vote on the amendments proposed

  The crucial Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023, if passed by the house, will help in reviving the delayed International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and avert default from Pakistan on its mandatory payments to international lenders

  The session will now resume on February 20 at 5 pm

 The session today was chaired by NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had formally unveiled a Rs170 billion mini-budget that carried some highly inflationary measures but spared the commercial banks and traders of any new taxation, weakening the coalition government’s case of putting burden on the sectors which could bear it the most

The case of commercial banks was more glaring given the fact that the finance minister had announced in the recent past to impose heavy taxes on them to punish them for “currency manipulation”

 He had stated last year that the banks made about Rs50 billion in undue profits, which the government would recover by imposing additional taxes

The bill also contained some measures, which have failed to yield any significant revenues in the past such as the imposition of a 10% advance income tax on public-private gatherings and functions

During the session, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Qadir Mandokhail stated that the PPP conducted a long march against inflation

  Mandokhail urged the incumbent government to decrease the burden on the poor and rather increase taxes on luxury cars and homes

He added that WhatsApp and Twitter should also be taxed

He also claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) planned to sabotage the IMF accords after audio leaks of Shaukat Tareen, Jaafar Laghari and Taimur Jhagra surfaced

“The government should take special care of the poor, the least burden should be placed on the poor people,” he added

Read NA seats altered in fresh delimitation Mutahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MNA Sheikh Salahuddin criticised Dar for his “non-serious” attitude towards the difficult conditions the country was facing

He maintained that the MQM-P was allied with the PDM to prevent default and help lift the country out of the economic crisis

Salahuddin lamented that the rupee had depreciated, and petrol, electricity and gas prices were alsi increased

“These bombs had already been dropped on the public

And then our finance minister dropped another bomb on February 15,” he furthered

PTI's dissenting MNA Afzal Dhandla stated that the finance minister had made electricity and gas unaffordable for many and added that everything was 'uncontrollably expensive'

“The finance minister is here to talk about Kisan Package, however, according to farmers’ notices lands are being sold for non-payment of agricultural loans of Rs300,000,” he said and questioned how farmers could advocate the package

NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf stated that the recommendations of the Senate on the Finance Amendment Bill 2023 were received by the National Assembly

He furthered that NA members could also discuss the recommendations

PPP MNA Agha Rafiullah said that there was no doubt that the poor were under immense pressure and that members of the government or opposition had to return to the people

“If you follow the rate method to get rid of inflation, you will get rid of it,” he said, adding that markets should be shut by 6 pm

He asked the NA to ban vehicles with more than 1800 cc and urged MNAs to use public transport

Rafiullah also emphasised the privilege of bureaucrats who possessed several cars

“There are privileges only for the powerful and no one else,” he added

MNA Saira Bano from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) also criticised the government for the increase in taxes and stated that it was impossible for common people to meet their needs due to inflation

Date:18-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link