| GEO Pakistan|
Senators oppose GST bill
| Updated at: 2156 PST, Wednesday, November 24, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: Senators on Wednesday criticized the General Sales Tax bill 2010 (GST) and said that imposition of the tax would open new doors for corruption and not resolve problems of the masses.
Taking part in debate on General Sales Tax Bill, 2010 in the Senate, they said the bill would also cause inflation.
JUI-F senator Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani said that (RGST) would add to miseries of the general masses. He alleged that the bill was an attempt to please the foreign masters. "If the government is sincere it should end corruption of billions in government departments," he added.
He said reducing the tax rate from 17 to 15 per cent would not help generate more revenue rather it would open new ways for corruption.
Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said that the government had failed to control corruption, adding "if it controls corruption, there will be no need to introduce new taxes".
Sherala Malik said that imposition of new tax was unjust as the country was already facing unemployment, poverty, price hike and deteriorating economic conditions.
She said the tax should be imposed on landlords, industrialists, mill owners and well-off people instead of the poor.
She suggested that government should reduce non-development expenditures.
Mir Hasil Bazenjo said that under the 18th Amendment the provinces were given autonomy and no new tax could be imposed without the approval of the provincial assemblies.
He said that Paksistan People’s Party (PPP) was the party of the poor as Roti, Kapra, Makan were its manifesto, but regretfully it was trying to get the bill passed from the parliament which would make the life miserable for the poor.
He claimed if the government controls only five per cent corruption, there would be no need of imposing new taxes.
Abbas Khan said the government could collect billions or trillions revenue from Afghan Transit Trade if only those things are allowed which are required by Afghanistan. Goods meant for Afghanistan were being sold across the country which was a great loss to the national kitty, he added.
He said it was need of the hour to simplify tax collection system and make it fair and transparent. He said the government imposes taxes only but provides no incentives to the tax payers.
He said that without tax no country can progress but it should be mandatory for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to collect tax from the people indiscriminately.
Taking part in the debate, Naeem Hussain Chattha said that the government could not work for the betterment of the people.
He said the government had taken Rs 7 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and would get Rs 4 billion more and was asking for public support to fulfill promises made with the IMF.
While almost half of the population is living below the poverty line and unable to meet basic needs due to inflation and introduction of RGST will increase their hardships, Chattha said.
Instead of providing relief to the common people, he said that the government was saying that they had inherited a deteriorating economy while the previous government claimed leaving around 16-17 billion dollars in the national kitty.
There is no reality in the claim that the GST will reduce tax rate from 25 to 15 per cent, he said.
He suggested that the luxury items should be taxed and the basic necessities should be exempted from sales tax.
Senator Dr Abdul Malik said that the financial projections made in the finance minister's budget speech are proving negative as the exports are decreasing while the imports are rising and the inflation is at its height.
He said that no concrete steps were taken by the government to end corruption.
The poor masses have to bear the consequences of the new general sales tax being imposed by the government, he said.
Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani criticizing the bill said that Reformed General Sales Tax is a death certificate for the poor masses who are unable to meet their expenses due to high inflation.
He said that the present government has empowered provinces through 18th Amendment with transfer of more funds but unfortunately only 80 percent funds have given to the districts.
Durrani said that the RGST is actually the other name of Value Added Tax (VAT) which will not only harm democracy but cause loss of public trust in institutions.
Dr. Abdul Khalid Pirzada said that the poor masses are deprived of basic necessities, including food, education and health facilities and employment opportunities which compel them to become extremists.