Senators call for new NFC award, broadening tax net, loss-making entities revival

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ISLAMABAD, June 6 (APP): Senators on Monday called National Finance
Commission Award (NFC) to ensure equitable distribution of resources among federating units besides broadening tax net, more funds to National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA) and revival of loss-making public sectors enterprises.

They also described China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a game
changer and called for not making the project controversial in order to achieve socio-economic prosperity of the country.

Opening debate on the budget 2016-17, IIlyas Bilour, of Awami National Party (ANP) said the government in PSDP 2015-16 had also allocated funds for hydro-power projects, but funds for projects including Basha dam, Neelum-Jhelum etc. were not released.

If finance minister was sure, he added, that funds as announced in the
PSDP would be released this year or not.

He said Munda dam had not been allocated funds this year as nobility of
the country was putting hurdles.

He said Pakistan produced best rice and second biggest exporter but no incentives had been announced for the sector.

Similarly, he added, concrete measures should be made for uplift of steel industry which generated huge revenues for the national economy.

He said FATA was in state of war and its inhabitants were facing
problems but only Rs 4,00,000 was given for house construction which was not sufficient, thus the amount should be raised, he added.

He said health and education sectors played important role in national
economy, thus these two sectors should be diverted more allocations.

He said efforts should be made for strengthening federation for the country and the 18th amendments should be implemented, soon.

He said the royalty to smaller provinces in exploration of oil and gas
resources had not been given since 2010.

Mushahid Hussain Syed of PML(Q) said National Agriculture Research
Center which promoted techniques for agriculture developments should be further strengthened.

He was of the view, agriculture growth would have been far better if
heed was given to it.

He said Cigarette manufacturers lobby succeed in exempting tabbaco from tax but milk was taxed which highlighted big anomaly.

He said Climate Change which was serious issue was not reflected in budget, plastic bag which concerned common was also not addressed.
Similarly, he added energy worth Rs 1 billion was wasted on daily basis
on account of theft, distribution losses or other technical faults. But the budget did not mention corrective measures on this front, he added.

He said the government since its inception gave away Rs 988 billion for
clearing circular debt.

He said there was a need to do away with old-mind set to war economy in order to effectively face challenges of 21st century, adding national security paradigm should be re-defined and enhance regional connectivity.

In this regard, he added, trans-national projects including CPEC, TAPI
and IP projects played important role and efforts should be made to successfully go ahead with these projects.

Taking part in the debate, Chaudhry Tanveer of PML-N said Pakistan was going to be bankrupt but the PML(N) government made prudent economic policies and now economic indicators were improving gradually.

He said agriculture sector was on the verge of destruction but the
government announced Rs 380 billion special package for peasants and its blessings was being passed on small farmers.

He said terrorism was challenge and no one was ready to pump in interments but today foreign investment was being made.

He said CPEC was crucial project but it was being made controversial
which was beyond comprehension as he added the project would bring prosperity for all the provinces and the country would become an Asian tiger.

He said the proposals being thrashed out in the Parliament should also
be included in the economic policies to make them more result-oriented for achieving socio-economic prosperity.

Numan Wazir Khattak, PTI said all the economic policies should be
implemented in letter and spirit, adding in fact China was a good friend of Pakistan and CPEC was game changer but efforts should be made to make the country self-reliant, economically.

Aurangzeb from FATA said hurdles being put in the way of implementation  of 18th amendments by specific minds and they did not want to transfer financial powers to federating units.

He said new NFC award should be announced to provide due rights to
provinces and FATA. He added FATA was facing hardships today, they offered sacrifices.

He said Rs 100 billion for rehabilitation of IDPs was not sufficient
and it was just peanut amount.

He said Rs 40 billion mentioned in the budget for schools and health
centers which were damaged, was not sufficient.

He said constitutional reform should be announced for and decisions
should not be imposed on FATA and democracy should be allowed to flourish.

He said terrorism victims should be adequately compensated and
Incentives for security forces which were battling terrorism should be enhanced.

He said banks loans for FATA people should be written off and energy
projects be launched in FATA.

He said subsidy on wheat be provided to FATA people who were hardly meeting their daily expenditure.

He said a relief package on the pattern of Aghaz-e-haqooq Balochistan
should be announced for FATA to remove sense of deprivation among them.