Lack of quorum mars NA session
Finance Bill 2018 was moved before the National Assembly on Thursday to give legal effect to the budgetary proposals for the next fiscal year, however, the government failed to get it passed due to lack of quorum.
As the chair started clause by clause reading of the finance bill with amendments introduced from Finance Minister Miftah Ismail being introduced, Shagufta Jamani of PPP whose amendments were rejected, pointed lack of quorum. On the second counting, the chair adjourned the proceedings of the house till today (Friday) at 10.00 am.
Earlier speaking on the finance bill 2018, Leader of Opposition Khurshid Shah said the size of begging bowl is increasing day by day. He said according to the budget document, the budget deficit for the next fiscal will be Rs 3.74 trillion and feared that the government will again take loans to meet this deficit.
Naveed Qamar of PPP also voiced concerns over the amnesty scheme launched by the government recently. Other leaders of the opposition including the PPP strongly criticized the increase made in the limit of Petroleum Development Levy. They also termed increase in salaries as meager adding that the government has given no relief to the common man but only to the affluent and business class. They said the government has also ignored the agriculture sector.
Responding to the points of the opposition members on the Finance Bill, 2018, Miftah Ismail said that the budget deficit will remain 4.9 percent during the next fiscal year. He said that steps have also been taken to reduce the trade deficit. He said that exports and remittances are witnessing an upsurge while the export package has also contributed to increase the country’s exports. He once again clarified that no increase has been made in the rate of petroleum development levy.
The Finance Minister said that the government has substantially reduced the income tax. He said that the tax payers in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the provinces will also brought in active tax payer’s list. He said that sales tax on all the fertilizers has been reduced to two percent from seventeen percent.