Punjab presents Rs 1 trillion balanced budget for 2014-15

* 5% to 19.5% sales tax proposed on 10 new services, including call centres, advertisements, laundry shops, car wash, workshops and cable operators

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday announced a “no loss, no profit” budget for fiscal year 2014-15, and proposed five to 19.5 percent sales tax on 10 new services, including call centres, ads, laundry shops, car wash and service stations, workshops, production houses and cable operators.
The Stamp Duty has also been increased to 3 percent, with registration fee from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 on sale and purchase of properties in all private and cooperative housing schemes. While ending “bed tax” on hotels the government has now imposed provisional sales tax of 16 percent on hotels. Meanwhile, Luxury Token Tax has been imposed on imported vehicles of 1,600cc or above, whereas Token Tax on 1000cc and above vehicles is also being increased gradually.
The Punjab government has also imposed a tax ranging from Rs 0.15 million to Rs 0.25 million on luxury houses of 2 kanals to 8 kanals, and tax of Rs 0.2 million to Rs 0.3 million on houses built on more than 8 kanals of land. The Punjab government has also announced a 10 percent increase in salaries of public servants as well as pensions of retired employees. The monthly minimum wages of labourers has been increased to Rs 12,000 in the budget 2014-15.
The budget statement was presented by Punjab Minister for Finance Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman in the Punjab Assembly. The total estimated running expenditures for the financial year 2014-15 are Rs 1,033.07 billion, while development expenditure is Rs 1,033.07 billion. Punjab will get Rs 804 billion from the NFC Award. According to the statement, the provinces’ total debt was Rs 452 billion at the end of June 2014, which is 3.52 percent of its economy. The government has fixed the target of Rs 164.7 billion for tax collection for fiscal year 2014-15. The volume of the annual development budget for 2014-15 is Rs 345 billion. 
According to the finance bill, 16 percent tax has been imposed on the services provided by specialised workshops or undertaking (auto-workshops; workshops for industrial machinery; construction and earth-moving machinery or other special purpose machinery etc; workshops for electric or electronic equipments or appliances including computer hardware; car washing or similar service stations and other workshops); services provided for specified purposes including fumigation services, maintenance and repair (including building and equipment maintenance and repair including after sale services) or cleaning services, janitorial services, dredging or desilting services and other similar services. Brokerage (other than stock) and indenting services including commission agents, under-writers and auctioneers. 
Services provided by laboratories other than services relating to pathological or diagnostic tests for patients. Services provided in specified such as healthcare, gym, physical fitness, indoor sports, games and body or sauna massage. Services provided by laundries and dry cleaners. Services provided by cable TV operators. Services provided by TV or radio programmes’ producers or production houses. According to the budget statement and the finance bill, 19 percent tax has been imposed on call centres and five percent tax on the advertisements (including classified ads) in newspapers, magazines, journals and periodicals.
Some of the key features of the proposed budget are: A ‘Knowledge City’ on 705 acres of land adjacent to DHA Lahore, to provide international level education in the province. The government has announced a Yellow Cab Scheme for youth with allocation of Rs 25 billion. Fifty thousand vehicles will be distributed under this scheme. The government has announced a 27.1-kilometre-long Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore city with the investment of China. The project will be completed in the next 27 months.
A sum of Rs 31 billion has been earmarked for various projects in energy sector in the development budget. A further sum of Rs 17 billion has been allocated for Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, which will produce 1,000MW of electricity. Coal power plants of 1,620MW have been announced in Shekhupura, Muzafargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Jhang and Kasur districts in coming years.

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