Senate transmits recommendations on GST, Finance bill to NA

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek  on Friday transmitted the unanimously passed recommendations of Senate body on General Sales Tax and Finance (amendment) bills 2010 to National Assembly.Though, some parliamentarians were concerned about the bills, however, the House with majority of votes in favour approved the recommendations and sent the bills back to the National Assembly.Leader of Opposition in Senate,Wasim Sajjad, at the eleventh hour moved a note of proposal in the House for incorporation of some fresh recommendations despite the fact that the Finance Committee’s report included 15 unanimous recommendations on GST and four on Finance bill.

The Chairman Senate rejected his request adding that it is inappropriate to allow any member to give fresh recommendation because the Finance Committee has already laid recommendations of all the members in Senate.He said the Finance Committee was comprising members of all political parties and the committee members without prejudice to their principled position gave their suggestions during its meetings.Senator Haroon Khan and Dr. Safdar Ali Abbasi in the Finance Committee’s meeting said the imposition of the GST Act 2010 would lead to inflation which would be impossible for the government to control.Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar was of the view that his party’s position on GST bill 2010 is clubbed with 4 conditions, which include: imposition of wealth tax, initiation of measures for eradication of corruption in government which is estimated at Rs 350 to 400 billion, adoption of meaningful austerity measures starting from the top and checking losses of approximately Rs 300 billion in 8 public state enterprises.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh apprised the committee that the bill already has two rates of tax which are zero and 15.He said the tax had not been levied on essential items like food, vegetables, poultry, life saving drugs and education.He said that he was ready to brief the committee on agricultural income tax.The Pakistan Muslim League (Q) walked out from the senate during the proceeding only because their suggestions which were floated in the nick of hour, were not entertained by the Chair.The party was insisting for the approval of the two bills from the Senate, despite the fact that the money bill originates in National Assembly and is sent to Senate for recommendations only and this was also clarified by  Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr.  Babar Awan.The MQM and  the JUI-F did not support the bills in Senate. Opposition members Prof Khurshid, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Maulana Ghafoor Haideri and Babar Khan Ghauri said their recommendations were not taken in the finance committee, therefore, these should be considered as minorities recommendations, but the chair turned down their request.Later, Chairman Senate prorogued the House – App