Senate continues discussion on Finance Bill, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, MAY 30 (APP): The upper house of the parliament Tuesday continued discussion on Finance Bill, 2017, containing the annual budget statement, under article 73 of the constitution.
Minister for Law Zahid Hamid informed the Senate that government
would not hide anything in the budget and assured that it would present all budget’s details before the parliament.
Participating in the discussion, Senator Lt. General, Abdul Qayyum said
that due to several threats, there was need to increase defence budget.
He said that 300,000 more children had started going to schools during the tenure of present government, adding more focus should be paid on education besides teachers training.
He said that meaningful investment should be made on education sector alongwith technical education.
He added more relief should be announced for pensioners.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said that the details of supplementary budget of Rs 310 billion should be laid before the parliament.
He said that incentives should be announced for poor segment of the society.
Senator Mian Attique said that poor segment of the society should be more focused in the budget and more relief should be given to them.
Government should avoid impose more taxes on salaried class, he added.
Senator, Sherry Rehman said that basic issues of the country should be addressed by the government including unemployment and increasing poverty level.
She said that the government should announce innovative steps to address the issues of poverty and unemployment.
She observed that the circular debt has touched the level of Rs 410 billion which resulted increase in power loadshedding timing.
She pointed out that fiscal deficit was touching the figure of $10 billion, which should be addressed.
She said that the government should avoid taking further loans and plan strategy to increase tax net with equality, adding 82% of taxes were indirect taxes.
She suggested that more allocations should be made on education sector to improv stantdard of education in the country.
She said that teachers training should be improved.
Senator Aurangzeb Khan said that the government should allocate more amount in the budget for initiating development projects in FATA.
He said that interest free loans should be given to the people of FATA besides opening new branches of banks.
He appealed the government to pay more focus on electricity projects and ensuring provision of electricity to the FATA on subsidized rates.
He said that the federal government should resolve the long-standing issues facing by the pensioners and salaried class in FATA.
Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said that the budget document was prepared after consultation with all stakeholders.
She said that GDP growth rate was 5.7% against 3.7% of last year.
She added fiscal deficit decreased to 4.2 % this year while FBR collection remained Rs 3529 billion.
She said that the target of Rs 700 billion had been fixed as agriculture loan.
She said that the country was moving on right direction due to prudent economic policies of the government.
She added the country was going to join G-20 states and the country’s economy was being considered as emerging economy by international economic monitors.
She said that 15,000 MW electricity was being added in the system due to on-going power projects, which were near to completion.
She said that federal PSDP allocation for education was Rs 35.5 billion while Rs 49 billion had been allocated for health sector.
The government would ensure effective utilization of this allocated amount for welfare of country people, she added.
Ayesha Raza said that the growth of agriculture sector, resource development and other sectors remained remarkable during fiscal year 2016-17.
She urged all political parties to come forward join hands and work jointly for the progress of the country.
Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi urged the government to allocate more amount in the current budget for welfare of poor people of the country.
He added the government should address the sufferings of poor segment of society.
Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi appreciated the Minister for Finance for presenting a balanced budget.
The government was working on agenda to change the life of common man by introducing more incentives for them, she added.
He said that despite agitations and sit-ins, the government continued its plans for economic progress of the country.
The country’s economy was growing day by day due to prudent economic policies of the PML-N government, he added.

Senator Farhat Ullah Babar said that more allocation should be made in the budget for FATA and suggested that the government should allocate funds for FATA reforms.
He added that transparency should be ensured in allocation and utilization of funds.
Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari urged for proper utilization of available water and make proper policies in this regard. He said that water allocation should be properly made for the provinces as it is crucial for agriculture.
He said poverty can be alleviated through improving agriculture sector as entire cycle of economy of Pakistan is based on it.
Senator Saud Majeed said that Pakistan was facing great challenges
when PML-N government came into power in 2013. He said an overall improvement in economic and security situation has been witnessed
during past four years as the government used all available resources in a rational manner.
He said that subsidy is being given on fertilizers and no queue
of farmers has been seen now due to efforts of government. He said
an increase has been witnessed in foreign exchange reserves and all commitments like census, road infrastructure and motorway project
are being fulfilled.
Through Kachi Kanal, he said water will be provided to Balochistan as allocation has been made for it during this year. He recommended to add a project to cure cancer patients in Bahawalpur and special allocation should be made for it.
Senator Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah Aajiz said that Karachi was facing acute water shortage problem and asked the federal government to release funds as promised for initiating project.
He said that the government should pay more focus on overcoming loadshedding issue. He added more funds should be allocated in the budget for FATA and Gilgit Baltistan.
He demanded to further raise in the salary of government employees.
Senator Ahmed Hassan said that the government should initiate new projects for less developed areas of the country including FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that loadshedding issue should be resolved on urgent basis.