ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Budget 2016-17: Senate adopts 139 recommendations
The Senate on Thursday adopted 139 recommendations regarding the Finance Bill 2016-17 for its incorporation in the budget for financial year 2016-17.
Earlier, PPP Senator Saleem H. Mandviwala, who is the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, presented a report on the proposals for recommendations on the Finance Bill .
According to the recommendations, 15 percent pay and pensions of government employees should be increased. At least 20 small dams should be constructed in provinces to enable farmers to use water according to their needs. Services of all contractual employees appointed on disabled quota should be regularized all over the country.
Special conveyance allowance of Rs 10,000 may be given to the disabled federal government employees.
Sales tax on the locally produced powder milk shall be withdrawn.
Grant of disability hardship allowance may be made to disabled federal government employees equivalent to one running basic pay.
The Senate recommended for constructing and distributing 100,000 low cost houses among the poor free of charge. Same allocation of 100,000 houses per year may be made in future budgets.
The Senate recommends to the National Assembly that mid year budget review may be made mandatory and should be done in the month of February in Parliament for purposeful discussion and input.
Necessary amendments should be made in the finance bill to ensure corruption free economy.
Federal government should coordinate with the provinces to provide free education and health facilities to orphans and widows.
Government should allocate five percent of the GDP to health and education facilities.
No supplementary grant involving expenditure over and above 5 percent of the amount sanctioned in the budget is made without prior approval of the Parliament.
A single energy ministry be created by merging different federal ministries dealing with energy subject to ensure fast track actions against ongoing issues relating to energy.
Trade deficit may be reduced by increasing exports and decreasing import of luxury items so that import bill to be reduced to the maximum extent.
Takaful should be introduced in agriculture sector as well as other sectors instead of insurance schemes.
A system may be evolved to whiten and regularize the black money, some incentives for the investors may be introduced. It is proposed that by receiving 2 percent tax from the investors, the black money may be regularized.
Population census must be conducted besides allocating fund for it. The minimum age of Rs 14,000 should be implemented in letter and spirit. The delaying of National Finance Commission (NFC) Award is not in the best interest of the country. GST should be rationalized to 12 percent to have fewer burdens on poor.
Strict measures and amendments should be brought by FBR to find expose and seize Benami properties. Senate recommended strict punishment for non-filers. FBR should introduce a simplified form for filing tax return for eligible users of pre paid mobile telephone services to enable them to get refund/credit of withholding tax paid by them on such services.
Balochistan should be exempted for import of farm machinery and tax exemption for 10 years period. Farmers of Balochistan should be provided interest free loans to convert tube wells to solar power. Supply chain project for milk and meat be initiated in Balochistan.
Senate recommends that Rs 21,000 billion should be earmarked for FATA which is insufficient, therefore at Rs 30,000 billion should be earmarked for FATA in the current budget. Taxes imposed on FATA people should be waived off owing to the destruction caused by war on terror. Housing scheme for Fata may be started to provide them shelter in retired life.
The existing disparity in amount of pensions payable to old and new pensioners be removed. All pensioners should be treated equally. To allocate Rs 2 billion for revival of Karachi circular Railway.
Senate recommended to allocate funds for producing 1000MW solar, wind, gas and coal power projects in Quetta, Qila Abdullah, Pashin, Muslim Bagh, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Sherani, Musakhail, Loralai, Ziarat and Harnai. At least Rs 20 billion should be allocated for Boston to Zhob, DI Khan motorway, and matching amount for Kuchlak to Zhob motorway on the Western Route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Rs 3000 million be provided for master leading to PhD scholarships under Aaghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan programme.
Rs 100 billion should be allocated for construction of cold storages for preservation of fruits and vegetables in Balochistan.
Senate recommended the National Assembly to incentivize the use of solar energy in the budget and promote net metering policy for solar energy. The allocations of FATA university be increased from Rs 250 to Rs 1000 million.
Senate recommended to introduce low capacity hydel projects in KPK and throughout the Northern Areas producing 1,2,3, and 4 megawatt electricity to enable locals to meet their requirements.
Pakistan People Party (PPP) Senator, Saleem Mandviwala said Pakistan Bureau of Statistics should be made independent so that the statistics regarding the budget should be prepared transparently.
He said decline in domestic and foreign investment , export, agriculture production and industry performance have significant impact on country's economy. Further loans were being taken to pay salaries of government employees and to run the house, he added.
The Senator said the government should propose the annual expenditures in the budget keeping in view the total income.
He said the finance minister was a competent person and well aware of the economic challenges being faced by the country.
The economy experts, he said, had rejected the budgetary proposals and statistics presented in economic survey, saying that the country's economy was going down.
He said the government should have focused on local manufacturing, agriculture production and employment opportunities to boost the economy.
Mandviwala said government should pay attention towards introducing housing schemes in the country to develop this sector, saying the direct taxation should also be focused rather than indirect taxes.