NA approves 73 demands for grants of Rs 1 trillion

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) on Friday approved 73 demands for grants worth Rs 1.003 trillion for the fiscal year 2011-12 against which no cut motion was moved from the opposition parties, and also discussed the charged expenditures with a total outlay of Rs 7.347 trillion.The charged expenditure included the highest component or Rs 6.2 trillion on account of repayment of domestic debt.The NA session was presided over by Dr Fehmida Mirza. Federal Minister for Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh and Minister for State on Finance Hina Rabbani Khar presented the demands for the grants in the NA and majority of the members voted in favour of the demands.The NA is likely to take up the remaining 64 demands for grants against which cut motions have been received from the opposition parties, today (Saturday). Taking part in the debate on the charged expenditure, members of the opposition urged that the tradition should be changed, which only allows discussions on the charged expenditure rather than vote on it.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member Zahid Hamid expressed concern over the rising amount on the payment of debt servicing. He pointed out that debt servicing and repayment on foreign loans had increased by 340 percent and 200 percent on domestic loans during the past four years. He suggested that the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act should be amended to control the volume of borrowings and the government should also reduce its expenditures and set an example for others.Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) member Aasia Nasir termed it unfortunate that despite a democratic government the lawmakers could only debate on the charged expenditure, but could not vote on it. She said that all the expenditures should be brought before the Parliament and allocation should be made to all departments after voting.Aasia also demanded that the budget allocated for the Supreme Court should be brought for audit and urged that the defence budget should also be decreased, which she believed was quite high.

Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, allayed the concerns of the parliamentarians over the raise in the expenditures of the Presidency and informed the National Assembly that it had only been increased by six percent that only to adjust the salaries of the employees working there.He said though debt servicing has been an issue of concern, however debt to GDP ratio had come down from 60 percent to 55 percent. “It is quite an achievement in this time, and it will continue to come down”, he added.

The main demands for grants were mainly relating to Rs 411.135 billion for subsidies and miscellaneous expenditures, Rs 94.087 billion for superannuation allowances and pension, Rs 46.430 billion for grants-in-aid and adjustments between federal and provincial governments, Rs .6.763 billion for other expenditures of the finance division, Rs 6.136 billion for Inland Revenues, Rs 3.602 billion for customs, Rs 15.767 billion for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Rs 8 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan, Rs 10 billion for Pakistan post offices, Rs 35.973 billion for Pakistan Railways, Rs 11.618 billion for FATA, Rs 20 billion for federal miscellaneous investments, Rs 15.524 billion development expenditures of the finance division, Rs 14.076 billion for other development expenditures and others. – Dailytimes