The National Assembly on Friday will conclude a final session on the budget for the next fiscal year as the lawmakers completed their feisty budget speeches in the House.
After arduous sessions on budget and objections raised by the opposition, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin will conclude the budget debate and respond to the recommendations made by senators and remove the anomalies.
The budget has been debated for more than 40 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is also expected to address the House if the order is maintained.
The Senate had earlier proposed to increase the 20 per cent pension and basic pay of the government employees and to increase the retirement age to 62 years. It also recommended enhancing minimum wages to Rs25,000 for the Islamabad Capital Territory.
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The house recommended to the National Assembly that withholding tax on the health care sector should be reduced from 8% to 3 % and general sales tax exemption should be restored up to the extent of edible items which are part and parcel of the daily life of the common man.
While announcing the completion of the budget debate, Panel of the Chairman Amjad Khan Niazi said that he was grateful to all the members of the National Assembly.
“We want a healthy debate in this House to consolidate the parliament,” he said, adding, “confidence of the people will also increase in parliament”.
According to sources, cut motions will also be tabled in the proceedings and the voting on cut motions will be held on June 28 whereas finance bill for the new financial year will be passed on June 29.
Issues such as supplementary grants and additional expenditure will be discussed on June 30 and approval will be sought later. The meeting will be adjourned indefinitely on June 30, completing the budget approval process.
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The House was later adjourned to meet again on June 25, 2021 at 11 am.
During Thursday’s budget, Mir Amir Ali Khan Magsi opposed the use of electronic voting machines in elections. He said Sindh province should not be neglected in development.
PML-N’s Maryam Aurangzeb said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had forgotten all his promises of creating a “new Pakistan, in which 10 million jobs would be created along with 5 million houses and 350 dams”.
She said that the prime minister had earlier made lofty claims that he would not go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial help.
Aurangzeb criticised the Budget 2021-2022 released by the PTI government calling it “blood-sucking” and “bone-breaking”.
“We will not let you forget your promises,” she said. “The cabinet has been reshuffled six times, finance minister has been replaced four times, and inflation and unemployment have soared”.
“We bought tomato for Rs700 per kilogramme. Will not forget,” she added.
Aurangzeb, who is also the PML-N spokesperson, said that his party did not have problems with the electoral reform, not with the voting rights for the expatriate Pakistanis or the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
However, she accused the government of encroaching upon the domain of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“The powers of the Election Commission are being given to NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority]. We will not let that happen,” she said.
Federal Minister Ali Muhammad Khan told the house that credit for building motorways went to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. He added that former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave voice to the poor and Imran Khan brought the youth into politics.
“We started accountability of our own people,” he told the house. He then advised the opposition: “Never compromise accountability. Ask questions from your leadership.”
Malik Umar Aslam Khan said the PTI government has transformed the FBR into an efficient institution. He said this budget will play an important role in the development of the country.
Riaz ul Haq said the prices of essential commodities have gone beyond the reach of the common man.
He said the government should take steps to provide relief to the people.
The Chief Whip Aamir Dogar and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs thanked all the members from both sides of the aisle over their cooperation in the smooth functioning of the House.