ISLAMABAD: Criticising the federal budget 2014-15, legislators in the Upper House of parliament on Wednesday expressed their astonishment of the fact that the government has increased taxes on motorcycle spare parts while exempting imported cars of above 1,800cc from taxes.
“How can we call this budget for the poor when incentives have been announced for the elite and well-off people, whereas poor motorcycle users have been subjected to more taxes,” Awami National Party’s Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel remarked. He demanded the government reduce taxes on motorcycle spare parts and impose more taxes on luxury vehicles. “We will appreciate the government if it announces reduction in duties on 800cc cars, which are mostly used by the poor segment of society,” he added.
On a separate note the senator regretted that the net hydropower payment to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had been stopped by the PML-N government since coming into power. “A proper formula for this purpose already exists, and payment of arrears was also decided but the government did not honour the commitments,” he said. Adeel said despite being a frontline province in the war on terror, the PML-N government has withdrawn the facilities given to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa industries in income tax and general sales tax.
He claimed that the civil servants could not submit their tax returns, and suggested the government should take stern action against such officials. For restoration of peace in tribal areas, Adeel said the government should ensure education, health, environment, saying that in absence of such facilities more terrorists will be created in the country. Senator Usman Saifullah informed the House that the economy had declined in several sectors, including agriculture growth which has been down by 28 and services by 13%.
He said foreign reserves had been increased through foreign loans and regretted that only two big families have majority control in the Karachi Stock Exchange market. “The government has set wrong priorities, like spending billions of rupees on metro bus projects, while people are seething due to prolonged power load shedding,” Saifullah said. He suggested the government include legislators in the budget-making process so that they could provide input.
Speaking on the issue Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the PML-F called for active participation of the legislators in the budget-making process. He said joint standing committee of Senate and National Assembly should be formed to save time and taxpayers money.
“Some fiscal power should be given to Senate,” he said. Shah claimed that agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and urged the government to take appropriate measures to help this sector, like provision of more credit facility, cheaper inputs, and reduction on duties on agriculture machineries, construction of storage facilities.
He also asked the government to take care while granting the most-favoured nation status to India, particularly in agriculture sector because it will totally destroy Pakistani farmers. Senator Abdur Rauf was of the view that there is no relief for the poor, and the 10% increase in the salaries of the government employees is insufficient in the face of price hike of about 50% since last year.
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