ISLAMABAD: Resuming debate on the budget in the National Assembly on Sunday, lawmakers hailed most of the budget proposals and urged the government to avoid indirect taxation, broaden tax base and eliminate corruption in tax collection.
Taking part in the debate, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain said concrete proposals had been suggested in the national budget to put the country’s battered economy on the right track. He regretted that the cronies were appointed as heads of vital national institutions, who only minted money. He alleged that the last government had doubled the loans, with increasing the budgetary deficit. The Pakistan Muslim League-N government has taken various steps to rectify the situation, he added.He said youth would be provided loans to enable them to start their own business.
The Income Support Programme budget has been increased by Rs 25 billion to continue helping the poorest of poor, he added.He said expenditures of ministries had been decreased by 30 per cent, while the discretionary funds of prime minister and ministers had been abolished.He hailed 10 percent increase in the salaries of government employees.Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl called for broadening the tax base to generate more revenue instead of levying indirect taxes.
He urged the government to abolish ‘Riba’ (interest) and make the budget conforming to the Islamic provisions.Dr Raja Aamir Zaman of Pakistan Tehrik e Insaaf (PTI) hailed the government’s steps of abolishing discretionary funds and initiating youth rehabilitation schemes, calling for making the tax collection machinery more efficient and corruption-free.He said the salaries of government employees should have been enhanced from 15 to 20 per cent to cope with inflation.
The Tarbela Dam victims should be provided 100 units of electricity free of charge like those of the Mangla Dam, he demanded.Referring to the Benazir Income Support Programme, in which the poor are being paid Rs 1,200 per month, he said instead technical institutions should be set up at each union council level to impart technical training to the poor enabling them to earn their livelihood.Ayaz Soomro of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said the name of Benazir Bhutto should not have been removed from the Income Support Programme.He alleged that Sindh was being deprived its due share of water. The distribution of water must be ensured on equal basis.
He also called for further raise in the salary of government employees as 10 per cent rise was not enough.Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said the water was being distributed equally among the provinces. Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had the distinction of getting signed water accord in 1991 by the provinces, which ensured equal distribution of water among all the federating units.He said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had been transformed into a provincial party and no province was stealing water of any province. On this the PPP members rose from their seats and protested his remarks.
Nawaz Yousuf Talpur of the PPP alleged that the 1991 water accord was not being implemented in its true spirit.Sardar Awais Khan Leghari of PLM-N said the PPP government had destroyed all the national institutions in last five years, besides increasing borrowing by 250 per cent, bad governance and rampant nepotism. The people have given mandate to the PML-N as they they want good governance, he added. – APP