Can't connect right now! retry
pakistan
Tuesday Jun 29 2021
By
Web Desk

NA passes Finance Bill 2021 by majority vote

By
Web Desk

Prime Minister Imran Khan, FM Qureshi and other members of the cabinet during the NA session on budget approval in Islamabad, on June 29, 2021. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan, FM Qureshi and other members of the cabinet during the NA session on budget approval in Islamabad, on June 29, 2021. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

ISLAMABAD: The government's proposed Finance Bill 2021 was passed on Tuesday by the National Assembly by a majority vote.

The NA session will resume tomorrow at 11:30am and Prime Minister Imran Khan is due to deliver an address.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed leaving the National Assembly after the session was adjourned.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed leaving the National Assembly after the session was adjourned.

According to the state-run APP, 240 lawmakers participated in the debate on the federal budget.

The motion was passed with majority vote which led to the passage of Finance Bill, 2021 after clause by clause reading as well as voice voting along with amendments.

The session was first chaired by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, after which Speaker Asad Qaiser presided over the session and Qasim Suri joined the members so he may become part of the total strength.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, former President Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other Opposition members were present in Parliament.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin introduced the Finance Amendment Bill 2021 in the House which was opposed by the Opposition.

The House took verbal approval of the motion to introduce the Finance Bill which was challenged by Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur of the PPP after which the Speaker directed for the count of votes to begin.

After the completion of the counting process in the House, the National Assembly passed the motion to introduce the Finance Bill by a majority vote. There were 172 votes in favour of the Finance Bill while 138 votes were against it.

Following the approval of the motion in the House, the process of getting a clause-wise approval of the Finance Bill 2021 began.

Among the House's business for today was also the amendment of certain clauses within the bill.

One of the amendments in the bill pertains to an added clause, under which MNAs will now be provided vouchers instead of air tickets. This amendment was met with no objection by the Opposition.

Earlier, PPP MNA Nafeesa Shah criticised the government's budget measures, saying that the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) was being "turned into another NAB (National Accountability Bureau)".

Shah said that no one should allow the FBR to be given the powers of judge and jury, adding that some points in the budget were too vague to understand.

PML-N MNA Khurram Dastagir lashed out at the government, saying that its proposed financial policies "target" the middle and poor classes.

"The government will not be able to achieve its tax collection target next year," he said. "The summary of the government's economic policy is this: the rich remain satisfied while the poor are in pain," he added.

The PML-N lawmaker said that the budget aims to increase sales tax by Rs383bn.

Dastagir also held the government responsible for the recent gas shortage in Karachi. 

10 days of debate

Rule 187 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007 states that not less than four days shall be allotted for the general discussion on the budget. The National Assembly continued debate on the finance bill, 2021 for 10 days, from June 14 to June 24. In this period, a total of 128 demands for grants were also approved.

The National Assembly could not initiate debate for three consecutive days (June 14 to June 16, 2021) due to ruckus in the House and a tussle between the treasury and the Opposition benches.

The formal debate started on June 17, 2021 and it continued till June 24, 2021. The House also discussed recommendations of the Senate and 12 MNAs expressed their views on them.

The Finance Minister concluded the debate on Finance Bill, 2021 on June 25, 2021.

The House held a discussion on the Charged Expenditure included in Demands for Grants and Appropriations for the financial year ending on June 30, 2022. The House approved 128 demands for grants related to various departments and ministries.

Detained leaders including Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah (PPPP) and Ali Wazir (IND) also attended the sitting on June 29 after issuance of their production orders by speaker and participated in the debate on Finance Bill, 2021.

Nine others lawmakers also spoke on the Finance Bill and demanded that it be made more people friendly and indirect taxes be reduced.

The total volume of the federal budget for fiscal year 2021-22 is Rs8.48 trillion with allocation of Rs2,135 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) — an increase of 37% from last year's development allocations.

In the budget, Rs900 billion is earmarked for federal PSDP, Rs 12billion for agriculture sector, Rs 118 billion for power distribution, Rs61 billion for Viability Gap Fund, Rs14 billion for Climate Change mitigation projects, Rs100 billion for Covid-19 Emergency Fund and a Rs12 billion special grant for Sindh.

Similarly, an amount of $1.1 billion is specified for vaccine procurement, Rs66 billion for Higher Education Commission for education programmes and Rs44 billion under the development fund in the budget.

Later, the House was adjourned to meet again on Wednesday at 11:30am.

The House will further consider supplementary demands for grants following which the budget session will be prorogued sine die.