ISLAMABAD, January 13: The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 with a majority vote to amend the certain laws relating to taxes and duties, in an ambitious bid to achieve a tax target of Rs5.8 trillion as per the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) requirement.
The bill moved by Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub is aimed at achieving efficiency, equity in the tax system, broadening of tax base as well as documentation of the economy.
The house rejected all the amendments moved by the opposition members with a majority vote. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement withdrew their amendments on the assurance of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, PPP President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif were present in the house.
Responding to points raised by the Opposition regarding the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said the government is trying to correct structural problems relating to the tax to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth in the country. He said no additional tax has been imposed on items of common man’s usage including laptops, baby-food, bread, pesticides, bakery items and digital payments. He said taxes of just Rs70 billion have been proposed on luxury items in this bill which will have no effect on common people. He said a refund of Rs280 billion will be given under this bill, He also assured the House that prices of medicines will also not increase. Shedding light on the criticism regarding the supplementary bill being the “IMF bill”, Tarin said that during the previous government’s tenure, 13 agreements were signed with the Fund. “They [the Opposition] are saying that the IMF has destroyed the economy of Pakistan, while they went to the IMF in their tenures as well,” he said.
The finance minister further said that escape from the IMF was not possible in view of prevailing circumstances. He said, “We have to take our products to the value-added tax mode to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in the country.”
He expressed the belief that economic growth will likely reach around five percent this year due to prudent policies of the government. He said revenue is growing by 35 percent while remittances and exports are also on the upward trajectory.
Tarin said the economy is growing and it is expected to touch five percent during the current fiscal year. He pointed out that there is unprecedented growth of 35 percent in revenue collection. He said remittances and exports are also witnessing growth. There has been bumper production of five crops because of the government’s investment in the agriculture sector.
Tarin said the government is focussing on inclusive and sustainable growth. He said, “We are providing health cards to the households under which each family is entitled to medical treatment worth one million rupees annually.”
He said, “We have launched Kamyab Pakistan Programme under which interest free loans are being given for the agriculture and businesses besides construction of houses.”
Earlier, the National Assembly resumed its session at the Parliament House on Thursday afternoon with Speaker Asad Qaisar in the chair.
The newly elected Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shaista Pervaiz took oath of her membership as member of the Lower House. Speaker Asad Qaisar administered the oath.
The approval of the supplementary finance bill was necessary to ensure Pakistan’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFE) gets cleared by the IMF’s Executive Board which is scheduled to meet later this month to decide the disbursement of the $1-billion tranche. -DNA