ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The National Assembly on Thursday passed Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 with majority vote paving way for the government to impose additional Rs 350 million taxes on already over-burdened masses.
A meeting of the National Assembly was held under the chairmanship of Asad Qaiser.
The approval of the supplementary finance bill was necessary to ensure Pakistan’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFE) gets cleared by the IMF’s Executive Board, which is scheduled to meet later this month to decide the disbursement of a $1-billion tranche.
During the proceedings, the PPP presented an amendment to the supplementary budget while the Speaker gave an oral vote on the amendment which was challenged by the opposition. The NA speaker directed the voters to stand in favor of the amendment. There were 150 votes in favor of the amendment and 168 against.
Responding to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s query, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that the mini-budget is not a tax storm, adding that out of Rs 343 billion, Rs 200 billion will be refunded. “This is not a tax, but a documentation of the economy,” he said and added everyone will know how much who earned.
Shaukat Tarin rejected the hue and cry of the opposition parties on the bill saying it is aimed at documentation of economy. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said the government is trying to correct structural problems relating to the tax to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth in the country.
He said no additional tax has been imposed on items of common man’s usage including laptops, baby-food, roti, pesticides, bakery items and digital payments.
He said taxes of just seventy billion rupees have been proposed on luxury items in this bill which will have no affect on common people. He said a refund of 280 billion rupees will be given under this bill, He also assured the House that prices of medicines will also not increase.
The Finance Minister said escape from the IMF was not possible in view of prevailing circumstances. He said we have to take our products to the value-added tax mode to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth in the country.
He expressed the belief that economic growth will likely to reach around five percent this year due to prudent policies of the government. He said revenue is growing by 35 percent while remittances and exports are also on the upward trajectory.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said the economy is growing and it is expected to touch five percent during the current fiscal year. He pointed out that there is unprecedented growth of thirty five percent in revenue collection. He said the remittances and the exports are also witnessing growth. There has been bumper production of five crops because of our investment in the agriculture sector.
Shaukat Tarin said the government is focussing on inclusive and sustainable growth. He said we are providing health cards to the households under which each family is entitled to medical treatment worth one million rupees annually.
He said we have launched Kamyab Pakistan Program under which interest free loans are being given for the agriculture and businesses besides construction of houses.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
Speaking in the Lower House of the Parliament, senior PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin should explain why there was a need for mini-budget, whether revenue has reduced or expenditure increased that an extra burden of Rs 350 billion will be imposed on the people, while, the petrol and power tariff were being increased every month.
In the session, National Assembly member Mohsin Dawar asked why the production order of Ali Wazir was not issued. He said the opposition had jointly requested for the release of Ali Wazir’s production order, adding that the Wasziristan has been deprived of its right.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Ahsan Iqbal said that six months ago, the finance minister had said in the parliament that the government has saved the economy. He said the present government has destroyed the country’s economy by making petrol expensive, adding that they have shifted the car driver to a motorbike, while the government has also imposed duty on medical equipment and Shaukat Tarin was saying that this bill was inevitable.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the finance minister says why there is so much noise, adding that Tarin himself does not understand why is inflation increasing. “He calls himself the representative of Karachi,” he said and added the minister should ask people about the mini-budget.
According to the bill, the government will impose a tax on approximately 150 goods at a rate of 17%. Therefore, goods that were currently either completely exempt from General Sales Tax (GST) or being taxed at 5% to 12% rates would now be taxed at 17%.
According to the copy of the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 available with Dunya News, the bill proposed retraction of GST exemption on 6 items of zero rated industry.
“Ending tax exemption on zero rated items will add burden of Rs9 billion rupees, was also proposed in the bill. The bill also proposed withdrawal of tax exemption on imported milk, bicycles.
The bill proposed ending GST exemption on 59 imported items, while GST exemption on bakery items, branded food items will also be withdrawn.
Exemption given on imported machinery for power sector to be retracted, while, increase in federal excise duty has also been proposed for vehicles over 1000cc.
The bill proposed imposition of 17% additional tax on imported mobile phones and 100% hike in advance tax in vehicle registration fees, while advance tax on foreign TV serials and dramas has also been proposed.
Zero-rating available on supplies of raw materials for imported milk would be withdrawn and be taxed at 17%. The supplies to duty-free shops will be taxed at 17%. As they will be taxed for the first time, there are no revenue estimates.
The income tax rate on mobile phone calls will increase from 10% to 15%, while it was also proposed that imported meat and poultry items should be exempted from tax.
The finance bill also proposes that bread prepared in bakeries, restaurants, food chains and shops be taxed at a 17% rate and sales tax on prepared foodstuff and sweetmeats supplied by restaurants, bakeries, and sweet shops will increase to 17%.
The GST on silver and gold will increase from 1% to 17%, while tax will be imposed on computers and laptops.
Mini-budget won’t affect common man
On Tuesday, while addressing a ceremony, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan has lowest tax revenue in the world and everyone including the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is involved in not promoting tax culture in the country. He said that Pakistan cannot prosper by selling vegetables and the mini-budget won’t affect the common man.
The prime minister said that his government would provide land on lease to investors wanted to set up industry, adding that government has decided to lease govt land for industry. Imran Khan said the government has adopted effective and strong strategy to make economy stable and meet global pandemic at a time. He said Pakistan has dealt COVID19 with integrated policy protecting economy and human lives.
The PM said inflation has hit entire world hard and government is trying to protect our citizens from adverse effect of this menace. He said exports, foreign remittances and tax collection are increasing significantly as these areas are on the top priority of the government. "Government has received 32 billion dollars foreign remittances and 31 billion dollars have been witnessed in export sector," he said and added the Federal Board of Revenue has made tax collection of Rs 6000 billion during current fiscal year.
Imran Khan said: "IT exports are at 3.5 billion rupees with increase of 70 percent while agriculture has received income of Rs 1100 billion, adding that due to an integrated strategy of the government, construction sector is also witnessing record development. "Tax culture in the country should be promoted to increase tax revenue," he said adding that the government has also introduced health insurance for every family in country up to Rs 1 million.
Imran Khan said promotion of business activities and creating decent business opportunities in the country is our priority and the government will provide all possible facilities to establish industrial zones in the country.
The premier went on to say that said government is committed to ensure rule of law in the country despite that some elements are creating hurdles in this regard. Emphasizing the need to eliminate corruption from the country, he said a corruption free Pakistan is our mission and we will continue fight against corrupt elements and practices.