Asad Umer asks govt to review taxes on edibles, small vehicles

Asad Umer asks govt to review taxes on edibles, small vehicles

ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Asad Umer on  Thursday asked the government to review taxes imposed on edibles like sugar, cooking oil and small vehicles as these were directly linked with the common man.

Participating in the National Assembly budget debate, he suggested the government to withdraw taxes on these items, terming the increase ‘inappropriate.’

He said the government must look into the matter that why prices of sugar had been increasing.

Underlining the need to take more measures for welfare of the working class, he said there should be 10 to 15 percent increase in pension of retired employees registered with Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI). Besides, he said domestic and brick kiln workers should be registered with EOBI, adding statistics of the institution should also be reconciled. Speaker Asad Qaiser suggested Asad Umer to prepare legislation on brick-kiln workers and table it in the House.

Under the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme, he said, every year 50,000 units should be constructed for labourers to provide shelter to homeless people.

Asad Umer said agriculture sector was backbone of the national economy and regretted that Rs 400 per fertilizer bag was being charged by the companies on account of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDS), which was not deposited in the national exchequer. He was of the view that price of per fertilizer bag should be decreased by Rs 400 to facilitate farmers community.

He also asked the government to reconsider zero-rated tax announced for textile sector as it could cause liquidity crisis and shatter confidence of investors.

He said there should be exemption on minimum-tax for new investments pouring in diverse fields aimed at encouraging investors.

Sharing some details of negotiations and meetings with International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, he held being Finance Minister,  Asad Umer said there were five basic points on which his team had resisted.

Elaborating, he said, Pakistani team was not in favour of free-float of exchange rate, 50 percent increase in electricity price, 94 percent raise in gas tariff and 6 percent hike in interest rate.

He said it was the result of his team’s resistance, which helped in getting the IMF package on considerably better conditions under Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

Asad Umer said the PTI always struggled for rights of downtrodden segments of the society and would continue to work for ‘economic justice.’

He said Pakistan was passing through difficult economic situation and the PTI government was making concerted efforts to bring down the current account deficit gradually.

Commenting on PPPP President Asif Ali Zardari’s complaint about locust attack on cotton crop in an area of Sindh, Asad Umer said aerial spray had been started to curtail the locust attack.

Asad Umer, who started his speech on budget after Asif Ali Zardari, said it was collective responsibility of the Parliament to bring to task all those who had looted national money.