Senators urge revision of proposed taxes on salaried class

Also called for minimising power load-shedding in the country

APP June 20, 2024


 Senators from both sides of the aisle called on Thursday to revise the proposed taxes on the salaried class, medicines, the cement industry, and property business. They also urged minimising power load-shedding in the country.

Participating in the debate on the 2024-25 budget in the Senate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) parliamentary leader Ali Zafar claimed that the budget provided no relief. Instead, new taxes were imposed, further burdening the people. 

He argued that the finance minister should have proposed steps to reduce government intervention in the market and promote a market-driven economy. 

According to Zafar, no concrete recommendations were made for economic growth or reducing government expenditures. He warned that economic growth would suffer due to increased taxes aimed at achieving the revenue target of Rs3.8 trillion.

Kamran Murtaza of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) stated that federal consolidated funds needed to be discussed in the forum. He lamented that despite three different governments being in power, a new National Finance Commission Award had not been announced, violating Article 160 of the Constitution.

Read more: Omar Ayub condemns Budget 2024-25 as ‘economic terrorism’

Quratulain Marri of the Pakistan Peoples Party highlighted that Rs150 billion was allocated for electricity, yet her constituency experienced 20-hour power load-shedding. Similarly, she noted that Rs22 billion was earmarked for gas, which was also in short supply.

Haji Hidayatullah Khan of the Awami National Party expressed concern that the new taxes proposed in the budget would erode wages. He called for revising the tax on medicines as it would negatively impact the poor. 

Khan pointed out that meager funds were allocated for development projects in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which needed to be increased. He also called for ending power load-shedding in K-P, noting that the province generated around 5,790 megawatts of electricity. 

He criticised the lack of new major schemes in the power sector for the province in the annual Public Sector Development Programme.

Khan further argued that the allocation of Rs67 billion for higher education was insufficient and should be increased. He also advocated for reducing the tax on people involved in the property business. 

He added that increasing the tax on cement would negatively affect the construction business and the poor people associated with it.

He lamented that agriculture, considered the backbone of the country, was allocated only Rs115 billion and suggested extending Kisan Card-like facilities to other provinces.


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