ISLAMABAD (our reporter):- The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Finance Bill 2022, giving legal effect to budgetary proposals for the next fiscal year.

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha has moved the motion in this regard.

The House has passed Rs.7.24 trillion tax collections for the Federal Board of Revenue for the next fiscal year.

The government has levied super tax on affluent class in order to reduce the budget deficit and take the country towards economic sovereignty.

According to the amendments introduced in the finance bill 2022 and approved by the National Assembly today, there will be no tax on those earning less than six hundred thousand rupees.

Those earning between over six hundred thousand rupees and 1.2 million rupees will have to pay tax at the rate of 2.5 percent on the amount exceeding six hundred thousand rupees.

The measures included bringing down the income tax slab for people earning from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000. They will be taxed at 2.5% and the rate moves up for the ones earning higher.

The government also agreed to the Fund’s demand of imposing a 1% poverty tax on companies earning Rs150 million, 2% on those generating an income of Rs200 million, 3% on those earning more than 250 million, and 4% on the ones generating an income of Rs300 million or more than that.

These measures were in addition to the 10% super tax imposed on 13 large-scale industries — cement, steel, banking, airlines, textile, automobile assembling, sugar mills, beverages, oil and gas, fertiliser, cigarettes, chemicals, and LNG terminals.

The budget envisages Federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) OF 800 billion rupees for the next fiscal year. It has been centered on improvement in sectors such as water resources, transport and communication, energy, higher education, health, science and technology, and balanced regional development.

The govt has allocated Rs.699 billion for targeted subsidies to extend benefit to deprived segments of the society.

The budget of Benazir Income Support Program has been increased to 364 billion rupees.  In addition, 12 billion rupees have been allocated for the provision of subsidy on essential commodities through Utility Stores Corporation.

The salaries of government employees have been increased by fifteen percent along with a merger of adhoc allowances.

Earlier, responding to the concerns of the opposition members on the finance bill, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said relief has been provided to  the deprived segments of the society in the budget for next fiscal year. 

She said it is the first time that the most number of recommendations of the Senate has been incorporated in the finance bill.  

The govt has allocated Rs600 billion for running of civilian government affairs, Rs609 billion for pension for the next fiscal year.

For payment of debt servicing of domestic and foreign loans, the govt has allocated Rs3950 billion for the next fiscal year. The govt has also allocated Rs1523 billion for Defense budget for the next fiscal year

Taking the floor, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the PPP has always led the struggle for democracy, free and fair elections and for the economic rights of the people.

He said his party strongly believes in transparent elections. He said the PPP will also secure victory in the second phase of Sindh local government elections to be held in a month’s time.  

The NA also approved the amending the Petroleum Products (Petroleum Levy) Ordinance, 1961, caving in to the IMF’s demand of imposing a petroleum tax levy of Rs.50.

The Finance Minister, while speaking on the floor of the lower house, said that the petroleum levy was at Rs 0 currently. He added that the government will not impose Rs50 in one go, rather it would be gradual.

These were moved by Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha.

Supplementary demands for grants for the fiscal years 2020-21, 2019-20 and 2018-19 were also approved by the House.

Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf commended comprehensive discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year. He also recognized the contributions of the staff of parliament house as well as that of other departments who performed duties in the parliament house during the budget session. He assured that the commitment of honoraria will be fulfilled.

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