GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Assembly on Thursday approved the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23) with an outlay of Rs119.3 billion.

Meanwhile, taking to the social media platform Twitter, the Office of the GB Chief Secretary in a series of tweets said that the creation of a revenue authority in GB was unanimously supported in the session.

“Today during the concluding session of the budget for the year 2022-23, the assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan has taken a giant step towards self-sufficiency by unanimously supporting the creation of Gilgit-Baltistan Revenue Authority (GBRA). Gilgit-Baltistan has a huge potential for collection of sales tax on services because of its booming tourism industry and other affiliated service based industries like transport, food etc,” the official tweeted. However this potential wasn’t maturing due to absence of an effective revenue collection system.

“GBRA will perform this function and immediately after its creation, revenue collection of billions of rupees can be envisioned. For GB this revenue collection potential can be a game changer. Today all parliamentarians supported the creation of GBRA across party lines. GBRA will ensure that the incidence of taxes on local population is minimised and its primary focus will be to raise tax from tourism and its associated industries. Goal to make GB self-sufficient,” it added.

The GB annual budget was presented in the GB Assembly on Monday and was deliberated upon on Wednesday and Thursday. The sessions were chaired by Deputy Speaker Advocate Nazir Ahmed.

GB Assembly members from the opposition and treasury members debated the proposed budget on Wednesday and Thursday and got consensus to talk with the federal government on budget deficits and request the central government to increase funds for GB to overcome the Rs7bn deficit in the FY23 budget.

A total of 15 cut motions tabled by the opposition and Treasury members were approved.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022

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