Budget pro-poor, growth-oriented: Nuzhat

Islamabad

Treasury benches in the Senate Friday termed the federal budget 2018-19 as pro-poor and growth oriented, while opposition termed it as anti-poor. Resuming debate on the federal budget, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq said the present government had presented pro-people budget for the fiscal year of 2018-19.
She said the present government had empowered the women in every field of life adding that government had made legislation for harassment at work place. Criticizing the budget Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said it was not the mandate of the present government to present the budget for the whole year. He termed the budget anti-poor and anti labour and said it was presented without announcing the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.
Senator Khanzada Khan claimed that additional burden had been put on the poor segments of the society. He was of the view the government had not focused on education and health sectors.
He said that the present government had no moral justification to present federal budget and criticized the government for announcing tax amnesty scheme. Nothing had been announced in the budget for the benefit of middle class, he claimed.
Meanwhile, resuming debate on the budget at National Assembly, the lawmakers identified different areas where they suggested the government to focus and lead the country towards progress and development.
Participating in the budget debate,Sahibzada Tariqullah stressed the need for collecting tax from the wealthiest people of the country, which he said would contribute substantially in enhancing the revenues. He said that the government at one side had announced tax-free budget but at the same time provided many exemptions, questioning how it was going to meet the collection target of Rs4436 billion, set for the current fiscal year.
He said that only 0.9 percent of country’s total population was paying tax, whereas the ratio was much higher even in our neighboring countries. Sahibzada also lamented that as many as 109 schemes, which were included in Public Sector Development Programme(PSDP) during previous years, were not included in the next PSDP.
He said that the government was advised to announce budget only for four months and let the upcoming government to present budget for the whole fiscal year, which was its right. He said that though the government has presented its 6th budget, but unfortunately it was presented by an unelected representative.
Taking part in the debate, Shahji Gul Afridi, while highlighting the importance of enhancing trade among regional countries, stressed the need for paying attention towards transport sector to ap its full potential. He said that since Pakistan was member of Convention on International Transport of Goods, TIR, it should take full advantage of it and promote its transport sector, adding that if Chinese transport could operate in Pakistan why can’t Pakistani transport operate in China.
He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also provides an opportunity to promote transport sector, which he said was paying taxes of Rs500-Rs600 billion annually.He demanded policy intervention to tap the full potential of this sector and highlighted the need for devising long term policies instead of focusing on short-term policies to take the country forward.
On the occasion, Azra Fazal Pechuho said that the debt of the country has inflated and the government has failed to give any paradigm to promote growth and lead the country towards development. She also drew the attention of the government towards Rs400 billion sales tax returns which it had to pay to business community.—Agencies

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