Senate continues debate on Finance Supplementary Bill

F.P. Report

 ISLAMABAD: The upper house of the parliament on Friday continued debate on the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill,2019, which was presented by Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Senators from Treasury and Opposition benches participated in the debate and recommended various options to make this finance bill more effective and helpful for improving the living standard of country’s people.

Senators from government benches termed the Finance Bill as positive for people of the country that will be helpful in improving the economic situation of the country besides changing the life of common man.

Senators from opposition benches criticized the bill, suggesting the government to include inputs from the parliamentarians for further improving the bill.

Senator Dr Sikandar Mendro said that there was no need of presenting supplementary budget that led to several problems for poor segment of society as inflation is going up day by day. He added business community and corporate sector will get benefit from this supplementary finance bill while there is no relief for poor people. He proposed the government to announce incentives for salaried class.

Senator Raza Rabbani said that the budget is specific class oriented as big business houses will get only benefit from it. He added the budget favors big business while there is nothing for middle class people.

He opposed stopping trade union activities in two organizations. He said that provinces are not getting appropriate funds under National Finance Commission (NFC) award. He added this step is also violation of 18th amendment.

He said that the government did not share meetings’ details of IMF team with the parliament. He said that the increase in electricity tariff is ample proof that rights of privileged class are being protected.

He said that the development funds were introduced first time in the country by General Zia-ul-Haq and then President Pervez Musharraf, while political governments also followed them during their tenures.

He said that several things proposed in the supplementary budget will start giving negative impacts on people in year 2020.

He added prices of life-saving drugs have also been increased by the government.

He said that several working journalists have not been getting their salaries since long, who were working with private media organizations. He asked the government to play its role in this regard.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said that the government should actually announce reforms package rather presenting supplementary bill in the parliament. He added the government should properly implement NFC award and give due share to the provinces.

He said that economic stability is not possible with continuation of policy of getting further loans and grants.

He added rather cosmetic changes in the agriculture sector the government should take solid steps to boost the sector.

He added the prices of petroleum items are increasing day by day and asked the government to address this matter to give relief to the poor people of the country.

Senator Azam Swati said that the government has introduced the culture of accountability in the country unlike past governments in order to ensure rule of law and improving the economic condition of the country.

He said that just on allegations, two sitting ministers of PTI government had rendered their resignations to maintain and show moral values in the political culture of the country, which was unprecedented in the political history, he added.

He said that the past government had left huge circular dept and high current account deficit for newly elected government of PTI. He however said that the government’s economic team led by Minister for Finance Asad Umar was striving hard to overcome the situation by taking innovative steps.

He said the government has proposed tax only on above 1800 CC vehicles while there is no other tax proposed by the government in supplementary finance bill.

He dispelled this impression that the supplementary finance bill was presented to support the business class and made it clear that the bill carries many economic reforms for uplift of country’s economic condition.