Federal budget sails through National Assembly
The Finance Bill 2019-20 was passed with a majority vote in the National Assembly on Friday amid protest by opposition parties, terming it as an “anti-people budget”.
Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar tabled the bill for approval by line items during today’s session of the lower house, chaired by Speaker Asad Qaiser, Express News reported. The motion was passed by 176-146 votes.
The total outlay of the federal budget is Rs8.238 trillion.
All members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies, including Akhtar Mengal’s Balochistan National Party (BNP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), were in attendance at the House.
Mengal had also voted in favour of the government for the approval of grants on Thursday.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have rejected the first federal budget presented by the incumbent government, terming it an “anti-people budget”.
Speaking on the floor, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the recent devaluation in rupee’s value had added Rs1,400 billion to the debt servicing requirement of the country.
“Without increasing our debt, our debt servicing increased. If this continues the same way, next year we could be looking at debt servicing of Rs4,000 billion,” he added.
“The country is not progressing and the government has added 40 per cent more taxes. How will the economy or the country progress? What will happen to the poor? They will face the brunt of this increase,” Abbasi stated.
On the subject of taxes in the budget, the PML-N leader alleged that “people who don’t pay taxes expect the people of Pakistan to pay their taxes”.
Abbasi further said that ministers should “not be angry and should realise name calling and anger will not fix the situation”.
“There are ways to deal with the problems as per the Constitution. We reject this budget since it is against the people. This is the start of the decline for our economy,” he stated.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, taking the floor after Abbasi, stated that the budget has provided no relief for farmers considering that Pakistan is an agro-based economy.
“The budget for education has also been reduced,” Iqbal stated, adding that the budget is “anti-people, anti-poor and anti-education”.
He asked that the “selected budget” be withdrawn and “a new people-friendly budget should be presented”.