Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Finance Minister Asad Umar presented the supplementary (amendment) Finance Bill in the National Assembly on Tuesday, painting a bleak picture of the cash-strapped economy.

The minister said changes in the budget, tabled by the previous government, are need of the hour for economic stability, adding that it will create problems if amendments were not made.

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Asad Umar highlighted the important points of the proposed finance bill as follows:

  • There would be no tax on earning up to Rs 4,00,000 per anum.
  • For those earning Rs 4,00,000 to Rs 8,00,000 a tax of Rs 1,000 would be deducted.
  • For individuals earning Rs 8,00,000 to Rs 12,00,000 per year a tax of Rs 2,000 would be deducted.
  • Those who fall in the bracket of Rs 12,00000 to 24,0000 income, five percent annual tax would be deducted.
  • Rs, 60,000 fixed plus 15 percent would be taken as tax from those earning Rs 24,000,00 to Rs 30,000,00 per year.
  • Rs, 150,000 would be taken as tax from those earning Rs 30,000,00 to Rs 40,000,00 per year plus a 20 percent tax.
  • For those earning Rs 40,000,00 to Rs 50,000,00 per year, a fixed tax of Rs, 350,000 would be deducted besides a 25 percent tax.
  • The tax on tobacco would be raised.
  • As many as 8,276 houses would be constructed for the labourers.
  • Duty would be raised on expensive mobile phones.
  • The duty on cars exceeding 18,00 cc would be 20 percent from now on.
  • The minimum pension would be raised to Rs 10,000 and a 10 percent raise has also been proposed.
  • A subsidy worth Rs 6 to 7 billion for Urea has already been approved.
  • The export industry would be granted relief worth Rs 5 billion in terms of regulatory duty.
  • Tax rebate on lawmakers has also been terminated.
  • The development budget for the current year has been reduced to Rs 750 billion.
  • Rs 50 billion has been earmarked for the infrastructure development in Karachi.
  • Health cards would be issued in Punjab.
  • The increase in petroleum development levy has been withdrawn.
  • The duty on 82 items would be terminated.
  • There would be no deduction regarding the projects under the banner of CPEC.
  • The fiscal deficit has been proposed to be retained at 5.1 percent.
  • Non-filers would have to pay 0.6 percent on banking transactions.

The lawmakers would initiate a debate on the bill from 24th, following which the bill would be approved or amended.

In his speech, the finance minister said that we wanted to strengthen our economy and provide employment to people, adding that to tackle the country’s debt was the top priority of the government.

Foreign debts increased to $95 billion from $60 billion, he highlighted, adding that the foreign reserves were depleting swiftly.

He clarified that the budget deficit would surge to 7.2 in the prevailing situation if tough decisions were not taken.

The country is facing a loss of 100 billion only in the gas sector, while in power sector it stood at Rs450 billion in one year, said the lawmaker.

Umar, who would leave for Saudi Arabia today, detailed that in the previous year, the circular debt reached Rs550 billion adding that the circular debt of gas sector has been recorded at Rs150 billion.

Addressing a press conference after presenting the bill, Umar expressed that the budget deficit would swell to Rs 27,00 billion if appropriate measures are not taken.

‘Rs 550 billion were added to the circular debt in lst year,’ said the minister.

He expressed that the foreign exchange reserves were too less for imports over a two-months time.

‘Foreign debts have already climbed to  $95 billion,’ said Umar.