ISLAMABAD: PPP-P Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Wednesday said the Supplementary Finance Bill-2021 presented by the government would bring negative impact on the common man.
Participating in the debate on the Finance (Supplementary) Bill-2021 aimed at amending certain laws relating to taxes and duties, he said it was the stance of the Opposition from day one to sit together and evolve consensus and initiate dialogue on the national economy.
He said it was unfortunate that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had not responded positively to the offer of the Opposition parties.
“Opposition leader in the National Assembly had offered national economic dialogue and national economic policy, while Asif Ali Zardari had also offered dialogue on the country economy,” he recalled.
He regretted that suggestions of the Opposition parties had not been included in the federal budget that was passed in June 2021.
Bilawal said it would have had a better impact if the stance of Opposition parties had been presented before the International Monitoring Fund (IMF).
He claimed that during the last three years, inflation, unemployment and poverty had increased, and disagreed with the government’s point of view that the country’s economy was booming despite all odds.
Bilawal recalled when the federal budget was passed; the government had assured that there would be no mini budget in the fiscal year 2021-22.
He also criticized the government for ending the tax exemption in what he called the proposed ‘mini budget.’ “The common people will bear the impact of these measures.”
He asked the government to devise policies keeping in view the interest of the common people, and opposed the proposed taxation on use of cellular phone services, mobile phones, laptops and other items being used by the common people.
With passage of the Bill, he said the farming community would have to pay 17 percent taxes on the items related to the agriculture sector, which was unfortunate.
He said the country’s farmers were in difficult conditions and it was the responsibility of the government to facilitate them.
The PPPP chairman said it was also unfair to tax donations and charity items. He also disagreed with the stance of the government that Pakistan was the most inexpensive country in the region.
He also questioned why the government had imposed taxes on solar energy systems when climate change was the most pressing issue that Pakistan was facing.
During the PPPP tenure, he said Benazir Income Support Programme was launched to provide financial assistance to downtrodden segments of the society, besides it increased salaries of government employees by 125 percent.
He also suggested the government to increase the salary of government employees by 100 percent, keeping in view the increased inflation.
He also asked the federal government to increase the minimum wage of the laborers as was done by the Sindh government.
He said that it would have been much better if the funds allocated for health cards should have been utilized for the upgradation of the government hospitals.
Earlier, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal said the government while passing the budget had given the commitment that there would be no mini budget in the coming months.
He feared that the supplementary finance bill would open a floodgate of inflation, and suggested the government to withdraw it and take all possible measures to provide relief to the masses.
After the speech of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar was given the floor by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri to respond, but he was interrupted by Leader of Opposition Shehbaz Sharif, who wanted to speak on a point of order.
Shehbaz said he in his yesterday’s speech in the National Assembly, had raised some questions about the condition of the national economy, which were not properly responded to by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar.
Later on, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar was given the floor again, but this time PML-N MNA Rana Sanaullah interrupted the proceeding, saying that an important debate was being held and the Finance Minister was not present.
“So, as a protest, I point out the Quorum.”
Upon which, the Deputy Speaker ordered for the members’ count that led to the adjournment of the House till meeting the quorum in due course of time.
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