| GEO Business|
| NA passes Finance Bill 2010; PML-N stages walk out|
| Updated at: 2051 PST, Friday, June 25, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly has passed Finance Bill 2010 giving effect to the budget worth 3259 billion rupees for the next financial year while MNA’s of Pakistan Muslim League-N staged a walk out.
The Bill was moved by Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and the House adopted the amendments moved by the Finance Minister in the Bill. The opposition members opposed various amendments moved by the government in the Finance Bill while the House rejected all amendments moved by the Opposition members.
A tax collection target of 1667 billion rupees has been fixed for the next financial year which will be nine point eight percent of Tax to GDP ratio. The budget deficit for the next fiscal year has been estimated at 685 billion rupees which will be four percent of the GDP.
An amount of 1033 billion rupees will be transferred to the provinces under the 7th NFC award compared to 655 billion rupees during the outgoing financial year.
The new federal budget provides 663 billion rupees for development activities at federal and provincial levels including 280 billion rupees for the federal government.
A number of measures have been taken in the new budget to benefit lower classes of the society which are facing great hardships due to price hike. One of the salient features of the next federal budget is grant of ad hoc allowance to the government employees equal to fifty percent of their basic pay. Similarly, pensioners who retired after 2001 will be allowed 15% increase and those who retired prior to 2001 will get 20 percent increase in their pensions.
Custom duty on twenty-nine items has been reduced while General Sales Tax on food items has been withdrawn in the budget.
Fifty billion rupees have been earmarked for Benazir Income Support Programme for targeted subsidy to the deserving people.
A new programme to provide employment to the rural unskilled workers will be launched during the next financial year in which pilot scheme will be initiated in 120 Union Councils of twelve under-developed districts of the country.
Early completion of development projects will be the key objective of the public sector development programme for the next year in which special efforts would be made to complete 300 megawatt Chashma Nuclear Power Plant besides construction of 1800 kilometers long highways throughout the country. The government will also take concrete measures to enhance power generation to overcome energy crisis during the next financial year.
Leader of the Opposition Ch. Nisar Ali Khan noted that for the first time in the political and democratic history of the country such a long debate took place on the budget.
Members gave valuable input and the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and other members of the treasury deserve credit for listening to the criticism with patience.
He pointed out that last year the budget was unanimously approved but this year the Government has not incorporated any of the amendments proposed by the opposition members.
He argued that except for increase in the salaries of the government employees, no relief has been provided to the common man and instead relief has been given to well-to-do people. He said the PML(N) would neither own the budget nor vote for it.
Riaz Hussain Pirzada appreciated increase in share of provinces to58% from the federal divisible pool and demanded abolition of unnecessary departments. He congratulated the Prime Minister for his policy of reconciliation and the Finance Minister for his speech and said he has rekindled the ray of hope among people.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said around fifty percent proposals of the opposition were acknowledged and incorporated in the budget.
He said 161 members participated in the debate on budgetary proposals for 12 days, consuming 39 hours and 37 minutes. He said expenditures of Presidency and PM House have been frozen.