Monday July 15, 2024

Senate approves 65 recommendations to NA about budget

By Mumtaz Alvi
June 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday unanimously approved 65 recommendations to the National Assembly regarding the Finance Bill 2019-20 and 68 recommendations on the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20, calling for Riba should be abolished at the earliest.

The recommendations include the demand of placing all important debt agreements, which make Pakistan liable such as IMF, should be placed before parliament immediately. It is significant to note that the House approved the recommendation floated by Senator Shibli Faraz in its Senate committee that the Riba from the country’s economy should be abolished at the earliest and at least 30 per cent of all new government debts should be replaced with Shariah compliance mode.

The House cleared the recommendation that PSDP allocation for Ministry of Climate Change be enhanced minimum by 15 per cent. The Senate recommended to the National Assembly that all tax/duties exemptions be given to the tribal districts, as mentioned in the 25h constitutional amendment and also approved by the Cabinet.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs had thrashed out these recommendations during its 10 meetings. The recommendations were moved by Chairman of the Committee Senator Farooq H. Naek in the House, which were adopted by the House.

Proposals by Senator Kalsoom Parveen to give raise of 10 percent of basic salary as ad-hoc relief to all federal government employees of grade 17 and above and 20 percent to the employees of up to grade 16. The House recommended that steps should be taken to decrease sugar prices, keeping in view the fact that Pakistan exports the commodity.

The Senate recommended to the National Assembly after the recommendation of Senate body that ad-hoc relief allowances of 10 percent for year 2016, 2017 and 2018 should be merged in the basic pay of civil servants and the armed forces. It was also recommended that tax rate on dividend income was 15 percent for individuals, which was very high and it should be reduced to 10 percent as earlier provided.

Likewise, the Senate approved the recommendation to give tax exemption for all salaried people, earning up to Rs90000 per month, besides recommending allowing storage battery manufacturers to sell its products for solar solutions at zero rate of sales tax to remain at par with commercial importers of solar solutions.

The Senate approved the recommendation of lowering the fiscal deficit target from 7.1 percent to 6.2 percent of GDP and also reduced the fiscal deficit gradually to 5 percent in the year 2020-21, and then 4 percent in FY2021-22. The House okayed the recommendations of freezing exchange rate to Rs150 per USD besides fixing policy rate at 9 percent and making efforts to increase GDP growth rate up to 4 per cent.

The House approved the Senate committee’s recommendations to allocate Rs750 million for Naltar-Gilgit power plant, Rs300 million for Naltar Expressway, Rs302 million for Harpo power plant, Rs200 million for 50-bed cardiac hospital, Gilgit, Rs100 million for Polytechnic Institute Skardu, Rs3.85 billion for Sewerage and sanitary system for Gilgit, Rs2.1 billion for widening of 65 kilometer Botogah road, Chillas, Rs750 million for Karagah energy corridor roads, Rs2.7 billion for Medical College Gilgit, and Rs500 million for Women University, KIU Gilgit.

The Senate recommended to the National Assembly that an exemption of sales tax for three years should be granted to the brick-kilns who are upgrading the production to environment-friendly system. Senator Farooq H. Naek also laid the report on a Money Bill to provide for voluntary declaration of undisclosed assets, sales, and expenditure (The Asset Declaration Bill, 2019). The Senate session was prorogued sine die.