Pakistan National Assembly passes fiscal year budget 2022

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Representative image
Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 29 (ANI): Pakistan's National Assembly on Tuesday passed the budget for the fiscal year 2022 in presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan with a majority vote amid a dismal showing by the opposition.

Dawn reported, Prime Minister Imran Khan was also present in the session, while former president Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari were also in attendance.

The Finance Bill 2021-22 was discussed clause by clause in the House. Amendments proposed by treasury members were accepted while those proposed by opposition members were rejected.

The publication further reported that the session was adjourned till Wednesday. The budget session has been facing criticism for several days by various political leaders.

Earlier, Tarin lashed out at the opposition for its criticism of the government. He said that only food inflation had increased during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's tenure and attributed this to the policies of past governments.

He said that the government was focusing on the agriculture sector which had been ignored in the past. "We are taking direct action, something that has never been done before," he thundered, adding that the government was forced to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to the fiscal deficit it inherited when it came into power.

He said that the government will go after willful tax defaulters, adding that it was necessary to enhance the tax to GDP ratio to 20 per cent.

The minister also dispelled the opposition's claims that indirect taxes had been imposed, adding that the majority of Pakistan's trade sector was not under the tax net. "Consumers are paying it but we are not receiving it," he said, adding that the government will also focus on this.

PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah criticised the budget because of the addition of a multitude of taxes prior to the finance minister presenting it in the NA.

He estimated that the government had proposed taxes collectively amounting to around Rs1,100-1,200 billion.

The budget failed to meet expectations, he regretted.

Shah added that a good budget ensured that people had food on their tables as "people's wellbeing is symbolic of a good economy".

The PPP leader also lamented that the health and education sectors remained largely ignored in the budget this time around as well.

He particularly expressed concern over the fast population growth in the country, raising doubts that the government had any plan to meet the demands of this fast-growing population.

The rapid population growth is an "atom bomb in the making", he remarked, asking whether the finance minister considered this factor while devising the budget.

"We need to think of incentives to limit the population growth," and the federal government should address the issue, he stressed. He further said the government had failed to provide any relief to farmers in the budget.

"Please make this budget a budget for the people," he implored.

Earlier this month, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had rejected the budget and vowed to give a tough time to the government inside the parliament.

Bilawal had said at the time that he had decided to stand with the joint opposition on the issue of the passage of budget 2021-22.

"I have given votes of all my MNAs to Shehbaz Sharif and now he (Shehbaz) can use them as he liked," Bilawal said.

Shehbaz Sharif, on the other hand, had said the government had given inaccurate figures in the budget document, adding that the opposition would chalk out a strategy to bring a no-confidence motion against the government.

"With the help of the people, the opposition will not allow the budget to be passed by the parliament," he had added. (ANI)

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