Senators continue budget debate

ISLAMABAD, May 08 (APP):Senators from both sides of the aisle Tuesday continued debate on the budget 2018-19, suggesting various measures to make it result-oriented and viable.
The treasury benches termed the Finance Bill, 2018 pro-people, business and growth-oriented, while the opposition members called it anti-people.
Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PMAP) Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar said the development budget should not have been slashed. The country would have to borrow more money in the next financial year to overcome 5 percent deficit, he added.
He said direct taxes had been decreased further and indirect tax enhanced. The circular debt had risen to Rs 800 billion, he claimed.
Usman Khan Kakar asked the government to introduce land reforms in the country. The National Finance Commission Award had not been announced prior to the budget, he added.
He said that all the state institutions should work within their constitutional domains.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani said education and health sectors had been ignored by the government in the next financial year’s budget.
She urged the Finance Committee to make recommendations to spend more and more on the welfare of children. She also asked the government to focus on the youth.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Ayesha Raza Farooq said foreign investment had increased in the country during the last five years. Economy had improved significantly due to the steps taken by the government as thousands of megawatts of electricity had been added to the national grid station. Salaries of government employees had been increased, while tax rate for individuals had also slashed.
She urged the government to enhance water storage capacity by constructing small and big dams. She appreciated the government for allocating Rs 79 billion to cope with water shortage.
Senator from FATA Aurangzeb Khan termed the budget anti-poor and growth. He said nothing had been announced for the development of Federally Administered tribal Areas (FATA) in the federal budget and asked the government to allocate more funds for health and education sectors.
Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s (BNP-M) Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said the government had burdened the masses in the federal budget. The duration of electricity load-shedding in the Balochistan province had increased, he added.
National Party’s (NP) Muhammad Akram asked the government to focus on the development of Balochistan, which was the most backward province and required special attention.
Saadia Abbasi lauded the PML-N government’s performance, which, she said, had done a lot had been done for the development and welfare of the country.
She said during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League, direct foreign investment had increased. FIFA had approved to use Pakistani manufactured football in the World Cup, she added.
Saadia Abbasi said the popularity graph of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was increasing with every passing day.
She expressed the hope that the Pakistan Muslim League-N would win the next general elections for successfully implementing its development agenda during the current tenure.
She said a huge amount had been allocated for the development of FATA. Gwadar deep seaport and Islamabad International Airport had started their operations, she added.
National Party’s (NP) Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo suggested that Senate of Pakistan should be given financial powers.
He said due to contaminated water in the Gwadar, its residencts were suffering from hepatitis. He asked the opposition leader and Senate chairman to use their good offices for the resolution of water issue in the port city.
Opposition leader Sherry Rehman said despite repeated requests, documents of LNG deal with Qatar had not been shared with
the parliamentarians.