ISLAMABAD: The proposed reformed general sales tax law that whipped up acrimony across party lines in the Senate will test the nerves of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the National Assembly when its standing committee on finance will take up the bill on December 1.
Fauzia Wahab, chairperson of the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance, has called a meeting of the committee from Wednesday to discuss the RGST and amended finance bills.
Wahab told The Express Tribune that the meeting will continue for three days. The first day has been reserved for public hearing of recommendations from traders’ bodies, while during the next two days the parliamentary panel will discuss both bills and recommendations of the Senate.
It will be a tedious task for the PPP to first secure approval for the legislation from the standing committee and then from the National Assembly as the bill’s fiercest opponents are drawn from opposition groups as well as allies in the ruling coalition.
In the standing committee on finance, the PPP and PML-N have five members each, PML-Q has three, while the ANP, JUI-F, MQM and Fata have one member each in the 15-member parliamentary panel.
Other than five votes of their own party, the PPP will require at least three more votes in the committee to get both bills approved from the parliamentary body. The bills will then be sent to the lower house for final approval.
Earlier, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who heads a key faction of the former ruling party, vowed that his party would vote against the legislation instead of staging a walkout from the National Assembly.
It is said that the government managed to approve the recommendations on the bills from the Senate, due to a walkout by the PML-Q at the deciding moments.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the main opposition party in parliament, has already announced its opposition to the proposed new laws, while the MQM and JUI-F have also vowed to continue opposing it in both the committee and the National Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2010.
More in PakistanSuicide attack in Bannu claims 6 lives