Upper House witnesses mix reaction over budget 2024-25

Govt to present federal budget today with aim to secure new IMF bailout

ISLAMABAD, JUN 14 (DNA) — Senate on Friday witnessed mix reaction on the budget as the treasury benches termed it pro-people and relief orientated while the opposition called for reviewing increase in tax on salaried class besides giving more relief to the masses.   Resuming debate on the budget, Senator Raja Nasir Abbas of MWMP said that no relief was given to the poor masses in the budget.  He said that sufficient fund was also not allocated for education and health sectors.

The budget lacked future economic plan, he claimed. He said problems of industries should be addressed on priority basis as it played key role in country’s exports.  Increase in petroleum levy would further cause inflation in the country, he added.

Sarmad Ali of PPP said that the country was facing severe economic crisis and we have limited resources and fiscal space. Our over 50 per cent revenue collection spent on debt servicing, he added. He said proposed tax on papers would have negative impact on education and newspaper industry.

Sarmad called upon the government to withdraw 10 per cent GST on newsprint. He said the newspaper industry was already struggling therefore tax on the industry would put extra burden on especially the small newspapers. Maulana Atta ur Rehman of JUI-F said that the government should made the budget people-friendly oriented. Sadia Abbasi of PML-N said the government should review proposed increase in tax on salaried class and provide maximum relief to the common people in the budget.

She said the government’s policy should be pro-people, pro-business and pro-agriculture. She also suggested that the government should control its expenditure.Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur of PTI termed the budget pro-elite rather than pro-people. She said tax has increased on the salaried class particularly on grade 1-16 employees. She claimed that exemption was given to the elite class in the budget. No tax was imposed on IPPs, members of Parliament and elite class, she said. She said that government has to curtail its own expenditure and she should start from its own door.

 She welcomed an increase in minimum wages of the labourer but the government should reduce tax ratio.  Nasir Butt of PML-N while taking part in the debate said that the government presented people friendly budget and announced sizable increase in salaries and pensions of the employees despite economic crisis. He said that it would take time to clear mess created by PTI government during 2018-2022.

Mohsin Aziz of PTI pointed out the government for increasing indirect taxes rather than imposing direct taxes on the elite and rich people. He said that the government should enhance tax base by taking pragmatic steps.    While participating in the budget debate, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Rubina Qaim Khani said that the PPP has always focused on addressing the issues of common people. She said that her party is committed to strengthening democracy and the parliament.

She urged the government to provide relief to common people and farmers, as this would ensure improvements in the lives of the masses. She expressed disappointment that the PPP was not consulted during the budget preparation process and called for increased funding for the education and health sectors. She advocated for efforts to empower women and minorities in the country.

Khani also proposed that the government include ten specific suggestions in the budget to address these concerns effectively. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Fawzia Arshad emphasized the need for increased funding for education, health, and the upliftment of common people. She suggested that the government should allocate more funds specifically for the upgrading of hospitals in the federal capital.  — DNA