Senators recommend suggestions to improve Finance Bill

Pakistani authorities say they have arrested the main suspect in the rape and killing of six-year-old Zainab Ansari.

The chief minister of Punjab province accused Imran Ali, 24, of being a serial killer.

ISLAMABAD: Senators from Treasury and Opposition benches on Tuesday participated in the debate on Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, and recommended various options to make the bill more effective and helpful for improving the living standard of the country’s people.

Participating in the debate, senators from government benches termed the Finance Bill as positive for people of the country that would be helpful in improving the economic condition of the country besides changing the life of common man.

Senators from opposition benches criticized the bill, suggesting the government to include inputs from the parliamentarians for further improving it.

Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem suggested the government to make this budget pro poor by including positive inputs from senators.

She said that more practical steps should be taken for benefit of poor segment of the society.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that due to economic mismanagement, the government has presented its third budget.

She said that the rates of daily food items were increasing.

She said that the government could not make proper planning to address the economic issues being faced by the country. She added practical steps should be taken rather depending on just propaganda.

She observed that foreign direct investment figures were not satisfactory and asked the government to address this matter. She said that the figure of external loans was increasing day by day.

Senator Siraj-ul-Haq said that consistent policies should be adopted by the government to get progress in different sectors.

He said that the government should make strong and effective economic policy.

He said that the present government was not responsible for worst economic situation however it should effectively handle the situation as early as possible.

Siraj said that per capital income was very low in the country as compared with the other developing countries.

He was of the view that very low amount has been allocated for education and health sector and urged the government to increase this allocation to ensure quality health and education system.

Senator Mahr Taj Roghani said that if the country’s industry would run than it would have trickle down effects on economy and ultimately on poor people.

She said that the present government had planned to boost local industry.

She said that the government had given relief to media and such policy would continue in future.

Taking part in the debate, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed claimed that the incumbent government had collected Rs 9 billion for the Diamer-Bhasha Mohmand Dam Fund by deducting from the salaries of public servants and other funds while spending Rs 15 billion on the advertisements to encourage fund collection.

The PML-N government had spent Rs 123 billion for acquiring land for the Diamer Bhasha Dam, he added.

He said the number of currency notes printed by the present government increased from Rs 6 trillion to Rs 7.78 trillion while no debts had been paid.

Senator Mir Kabir said the prices of edible items had increased. The farmers of onion, sugarcane and potato had been affected due to decrease in the prices of their crops, he added and asked the the finance minister to explain the the proposals made in the finance bill to facilitate industrialists, farmers and the poor people.

He claimed that the allocations for Balochistan’s Public Sector Development Programme had been cut. The drought-like situation, water shortages and electricity outages had turned the province into a desert, he added.

He said due to silting, the condition of Kacchi and Kirther canals had been deteriorated, while hours long gas load-shedding continued in Sui. About 90 percent of the province was without gas, he added.

Senator Kulsoom Parveen alleged that small enterprises were not facilitated in the finance bill. The tax imposed on the coal mines in Balochistan should be withdrawn as it had increased cost of coal, she added.

She said the services of health workers, who were administering anti-polio drops to children in far flung areas of Balochistan in the chilly weather, should be regularized.

She said the Federal Board of Revenue should review its policy of imposing taxes on the already financially overburdened people. Steps should be taken to reopen the industrial units, which had been shut down in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she added.

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said industrialists had been given incentives in the finance bill. Similarly, relief measures should be introduced for the common people, such as reduction in the prices of food items, she added.

The government had given relaxations given to non-filers, she said adding incentives should be announced for filers to encourage them.

She said the House should be informed about the benefits to be derived by small farmers, small or medium enterprises and others from the supplementary finance bill.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan told the House that Pakistani embassy in Cairo was in touch with the Egyptian authorities over the issue of six stranded Pakistanis on a ship in their country and was making efforts to bring them back.