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National Assembly & Senate continue debate on federal budget

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National Assembly

ISLAMABAD: (APS)May 4, 2018-The National Assembly resumed its session at the parliament house in Islamabad this morning with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.

Taking part in debate on budget 2018-19, Leader of the Opposition in the House Syed Khursheed Shah said parliament is a supreme institution and everyone should work to maintain its sanctity.

Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamat-e-Islami said Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is a qualified professional and has good grip on financial matters, but we have strong reservations on the budget he presented. He said National Finance Commission is part of the constitution but it has not been revived after 2007. Sahibzada Tariqullah raised the question if provincial governments present budget for four months, what will be their share in divisible pool from the federal government?  He said the statistics of tax collection do not present accurate picture and there is a fear of cuts in PSDP program in order to meet the tax targets.

Haji Shah Gul Afridi said we need to increase our exports but we need to improve our relations with neighboring countries for that matter. He said transport sector is paying taxes to the tune of five hundred to six hundred billion rupees to the national exchequer and it needs a separate platform, so that our trade and exports increase. He said FATA reforms will help spur the development activities in the region. Haji Shah Gul Afridi said Levies and Khasadar Forces have paid huge sacrifices for maintaining peace in the region and they should be given relief and allowances. He also demanded to give special financial package to residents of FATA and scholarships to study abroad for FATA students.

Amjad Ali Khan said unprecedented loans have been taken during the last 5 years. He criticized the indirect taxes on poor of the country.

Chaudhry Khadim Hussain of PML-N said construction of Kalabagh Dam is need of the hour and all four provinces should reach the decision with consensus.

Shahida Akhtar of JUI said inflation has been in single digits but the actual standard of life for the poor has fallen and they are facing hardships to make both ends meet. She said allocation of ten billion rupees for youth is a very meagre amount and will not be sufficient, keeping in view the large proportion of youth in our country.

Arbab Ayub of PTI said no funds have been earmarked for the development of Peshawar. He said federal government did not give any funds to MNAs of another party for development activities.

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Syed Waseem Hussain of MQM said people of Sindh are deprived of electricity, gas and water. He said nothing has been done for the development of Karachi and Hyderabad.

The House will now meet again on Monday at 5 pm.

The Senate resumed its session at the parliament house in Islamabad on Friday morning with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.

The House will continue debate on the new Federal Budget.

Speaking in the House, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb urged the political institutions to stand together for freedom of media and expression.

She regretted the incident of scuffle between police and journalists at D. Chowk, in Islamabad yesterday. She said a committee has been constituted and its report will be presented before the House.

Other members also condemned the incident and said that they stand for the freedom of media in the country.

The House is continuing debate on the budgetary proposals for next fiscal year.

Participating in the debate, Muhammad Ayub voiced concerns over rising burden of debt on the country. He said we need to adopt austerity measures and focus on growth in order to turn the country into a developed one.

Mushtaq Ahmad said the budget is anti-people as carries no relief for the farmers, working class and the youth.  He said the government should announce a mega development package for FATA. He said that all the political parties sit together and formulate a charter of economy aimed at taking the country forward on the path of sustainable development.

Nuzhat Sadiq appreciated the steps taken by the government for empowerment of women. She also enumerated the projects initiated by present government to overcome power shortages.

Muhammad Ali Shah Jamot said the government has increased indirect taxes which will add to the woes of common man.  He said the ratio of direct taxes should be increased in order to provide relief to the poor segments of the society.

Maula Bakhsh Chandio pointed out good governance is vital to achieve the targets set in the budget. He said that hands of the provinces should be further strengthened to address matters pertaining to internal security.

Naseebullah Bazai said that the government should focus on the development of small provinces. He said such course is vital to ensure a strong federation.

Khanzada Khan asked the government to withdraw the increase in petroleum development levy. Otherwise, he said, it will increase the fares of transport and push up the prices of essential commodities.

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