Debate begins in NA on amendments to mini-budget

Published February 26, 2019
The govt claims the bill is aimed to boost the economy, while critics call it a tax break for the rich. — DawnNewsTV
The govt claims the bill is aimed to boost the economy, while critics call it a tax break for the rich. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The proposed 55 amendments in the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 were laid for discussion by state minister for parliamentary affairs on behalf of Finance Minister Asad Umar in the National Assembly on Monday.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan on Monday laid the proposed amendment report in the NA amid the opposition’s protest over the arrest of Sindh assembly’s speaker.

The Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 was introduced in January. The government claimed it was a package of policies designed to boost the economy while critics called it a tax break for the rich. Since then, a number of amendments have been added to the original finance bill in its passage through the Senate.

The salient features of the propose amendments include allowance to purchase locally manufactured vehicles until 800cc instead of 1300cc for non-filers of returns. However, government is of the view that allowing of cars until 1300cc will help boost industrial production in the country.

It was also recommended to revise the value of the Rs300 per kilogram tax imposed on the tobacco sector to its former value on the plea that the increase has devastated local growers, manufacturers and small enterprises.

The customs duty has also been proposed to be enhanced by Rs15,000 per metric tonne on Crude Degummed Soy Oil in order to bring it in line with its replacement products and support local production.

The Senate also recommended lower tax rates on coal extraction in the province of Baluchistan and release of Rs5 billion until June 2019 for construction of check and small dams in the province.

To support export proceeds from the country, it was recommended to add electric accumulators and parts in the list of export items to China under free trade agreement, devise an immediate claim release mechanism to support non-textile exporters. To impose regulatory duty on export of recycled materials like lead under the Duty and Tax Remission for Exports scheme.

It was also recommended to scale down duty on raw plastic in order to discourage import of bad plastic grains in the country. The Senate also recommended the government to take immediate measures for broadening the tax net substantially and increase the total number of filers during the year.

According to the documents, 37 recommendations are related to release of funds for construction of roads, small dams, power supply and other development projects across the country.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2019

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