Govt incorporates record 62% Senate recommendations in budget document: Dar

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Employees salary to enhance by 13% with merger of another ad hoc relief

ISLAMABAD, June 17 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Muhammad
Ishaq Dar Friday informed the National Assembly that the government
has approved as many as 86 recommendations, forwarded by the Upper House for incorporation in the Finance Bill 2016 17.

The Senate had forwarded 139 recommendations to be incorporated
in the budget document, out of which 86 have been approved by the government, which is 62 percent of the total recommendations, he
said while concluding the debate on budget 2016 17.

This is a record in the parliamentary history of Pakistan,
he added.

Giving break up figures, the finance minister said that out
of the 86 proposals, 34 were accepted in totality while 30 were approved in principle with remaining 22 approved partially.

He said that implementation on 53 proposals was not
possible.

The Finance Minister thanked the opposition leader for
his positive response on the idea of formulating Economic Charter.

He said the government has already provided three year
(2016 19) Medium Term Macro Economic Framework with the budget document.

He urged the opposition to give its recommendations so
that economic roadmaps for seven years, ten years and 15 year could be formulated to lead the country towards sustainable development.
Dar lamented that undue criticism was made against inflation which was against the reality.

He said that the inflation was reduced from 25 percent
in 2008 to average 12 percent from 2008 2013 and less than 3 percent currently.

He said that the Fiscal Deficit was also reduced form
8.4 percent to 4.3 percent during the past three years and the government targets to bring it more down to 3.8 percent during the current fiscal year.

He said the government has reduced cost of fertilizers,
tax and tariff rates on tube well electricity besides providing them credit facilities to enhance agriculture produce.

He said it has become fashion among some circles, now
to doubt statistical figures, which was not a good practice.

He said Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) had been
set up by passing an Act of the Parliament and the Chief Statistician is administered oath by the President.

He said that the PBS is working in accordance with
international standards so the doubts on this count were baseless and meaningless.

He said that rains and pest attack resulted in low
agriculture growth, however, he added the services and industrial sector performed well.

He said that there was no discrimination in implementing
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the
provinces. He said that CPEC was a game changer which would result in spread of road networks all across the country.

He said that the portion of Direct Taxes has increased
compared to the past and the SRO exemptions have been eliminated while it has been made difficult for non filers to remain out of tax net.
He said that the government did its best to give relief
on the commodities in use of poor and vulnerable by providing exemption on Indirect Taxes.

He also dispelled the impression that taxes on petroleum
products have been increased. He read out the figures before the House to show that actually the taxes and petroleum development levy have been reduced during the tenure of current government.

Dar said that Sales Tax on MS petrol has been reduced from
Rs 14.70 in March 2013 to Rs 9.36 now. Similarly the tax on
Kerosene oil has been reduced from Rs 14.30 to Rs 5.58, High Octane form Rs 19.32 to 10.58 and Light Diesel Oil from 13.55 to 1.86.

However, he added that the tax on High Speed Diesel has been increased from 15.66 to 18.47.

He said that Petroleum Development Levy on petrol has
decreased from Rs 10 to 9.68, on Kerosene from Rs 6 to just
5 paisa, High Octane from Rs 14 to Rs 11.89 and Light Diesel
Oil from Rs 3 to just 5 paisa.

Naeema Kiswar of JUI F also endorsed the Senate recommendation
that the budget should be discussed in the committees before its actual presentation.

She said that the minimum wage of Rs 1400 was not sufficient
so it may be increased further.

She also underlined the importance that the tax return forms
must be made easy and proposed an increase of 15 percent in salaries and pension of government employees.

S. A Iqbal Qadiri of MQM said that the Senate recommendations
have utmost importance despite the fact the Upper House has no role in Finance Bill.

He said that the Senate has given 147 recommendations and these
should be seriously considered.

While endorsing the Senate recommendation about small dams, he
said these must be constructed in all provinces to enhance storage capacity in the country.

He said E cadre employees who had completed 7 years should
also be promoted to the next grade.

Sahibzada Tariq Ullah of JI appreciated the recommendation given
by the Senate and said that all the recommendations on the Public
Sector Development Programme (PSDP) should be shared with the parliamentarians before finalizing it.

He endorsed the Senate recommendation on installing solar panels
in the far flung areas and also approved the recommendation to hold population census as soon as possible.

New survey should be conducted in the Benazir Income Support
Programme (BISP) to list out all the undeserving people who are
getting monthly stipened through this scheme.

Shazia Marri of PPP said that the Senate has fulfilled its
responsibility by giving recommendations on Finance bill for year 2016 17.

She said that zero tax should be continued on stationery
items. She also endorsed that maximum time should be given to the lawmakers to discuss the budget and give their input before the presentation of the federal budget.

She said that it was a great injustice with Ex cadre of
National assembly and they should also be promoted.

She also supported the Senate recommendation to enhance
the salary and pension of the employees up to 15 per cent.
She also appreciated Senate regarding about interest free
loans for widow and poor.

Shazia Marri said that Sindh government has allocated for
six billion for K 4 project of Karachi and requested the Finance Minister to enhance federal government share up to Rs 2.7 billion.

Aftab Khan Sherpao of Qoumi Watan Party endorsed that Customs
Act should be abolished from Malakand Division keeping in view
their sacrifices in war on terrorism.

He suggested for eliminating the duty on tractor imports.
He said that the budget for FATA was not sufficient adding
the tribal areas should be brought under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and funds for this region should be provided from the divisible pool.

He said that the Western route should be funded in letter
and spirit and warned if it was ignored, it would not be good for the Federation.

Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party said
that the government should work on solar energy projects to run tube wells in Balochistan provinces.

He said that a dam should be built at Khushalgarh or some
other feasible place to provide water for agriculture to the vast area from Akora Khattak to D.I Khan.

He suggested that if country was passing through hard
times, the pay of military, judiciary and other such carders should be brought at par with the parliamentarians.

Haji Sha Jee Gul said that FATA should also be given package
at par with Haqooq Aghaz Balochistan package to uplift the area.
He said FATA parliamentarians paid more taxes than other
people. He said that tax incentives should be given to FATA so that industry could be set up in the areas.

He said that Senate recommendations should be implemented
in letter and spirit.

Usman Taraki of PTI said that the Senate proposals should
be implemented in letter and spirit and urged for streamlining the mechanism of power distribution companies.