National Assembly passes budget

Our Correspondent

 

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Monday passed the Finance Bill 2020 with total outlay of Rs7,294.9 billion, giving legal effect to the budgetary proposals for the next fiscal year.

The Finance Bill was moved by Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar. The amendments proposed by the  in the Finance Bill, 2020 were rejected by the House. It is a tax-free and relief oriented budget with a total outlay of Rs7,294.9 billion.

As per the budget documents, gross revenue receipts have been estimated at Rs6,573 billion. The FBR tax collection target has been set at Rs4,963 billion while the non-tax revenue is estimated to be about Rs1,610 billion. The net capital receipts have been estimated at Rs1463.2 billion, which are 75.93 percent higher than the outgoing fiscal year.

External receipts for the next year are estimated at Rs2222.9 billion. The development expenditure outside PSDP has been estimated at Rs70 billion in the budget. The total federal expenditures are estimated at Rs7137 billion with a budget deficit of Rs3,437 billion, which is seven percent of the GDP.

The size of Public Sector Development Program for 2020-21 is Rs1,324 billion. Out of this, Rs676 billion have been allocated to provinces.

The government has formulated a special development programme worth Rs70 billion to offset the negative impact of coronavirus pandemic and other calamities and improve the living standard of people. An amount of Rs10 billion have been earmarked to provide relief to the agriculture sector and fight the crop munching locusts. Besides, the government reserved Rs69 billion for water related projects. Allocations for Ehsaas Programme have also been enhanced to protect the vulnerable groups of the society. Taking the floor, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said the government has presented a tax free budget and it envisages relief measures not only for the construction sector but also for promotion of mobile phone manufacturing and electric vehicles. He said duties and taxes on import of sixteen hundred raw materials have been brought to zero.

He said it is the first time that the annual development plan carries the biggest allocations for Balochistan and Sindh. The minister clarified that the government has not increased the sales tax or petroleum development levy on petroleum products.

He said their prices have been increased keeping in view the upward trend in the international oil market. He said mafias in oil, sugar and flour will be brought to justice. PML-N Parliamentary Leader Khawaja Asif said that the government should provide relief to the masses. He regretted the increase in the prices of petroleum products.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking at the floor of the house said that no COVID-19 positive member has been invited to attend the proceedings. He said, “We are not irresponsible.” He said that forty hours were fixed for debate on the budgetary proposals but the members held discussion more than the allotted time.