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We aren’t increasing the tax on salaried people: Fawad Chaudhry

September 13, 2018
The Punjab govt is paying Rs8b in subsidies on 3 metro projects

The federal government is not going to increase the tax on the salaried class, said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday.

He clarified this while speaking to reporters after the federal cabinet’s meeting.

All the media reports about revising tax rate for salaried class and increase in gas and electricity prices are baseless, the minister said.

The government has not so far passed the income tax ordinance and the finance bill will be tabled in the National Assembly for debate.

Mass transit

The minister said that the cost of Lahore’s Orange Line train project has gone up to Rs250 billion.

The government will have to provide Rs3.5 billion annual a subsidy to continue with the train project.

Peshawar metro bus project: Chaudhry said the total cost of the project has now risen to Rs66 billion. “The federal government will not subsidise projects since the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had purchased the metro buses,” he said.

Lahore metro bus project: the Punjab government will have to provide Rs4.2 billion in an annual subsidy, if it wants to continue with it.

He said Rs2 billion each subsidy is being provided on Rawalpindi and Multan metro bus services.

Punjab government will decide whether to continue this heavy subsidy on metro trains or not, he said.

By the numbers

The minister gave details on the last government's spending.

In five years, Prime Minister House spent Rs2.3 billion. Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif spent Rs2.9 billion on CM House.

The former Sindh and Punjab governors spent Rs1.4 billion and Rs1.29 billion, respectively. The minister said he had no data about Balochistan and KP Governor Houses.

Major decisions

The cabinet has decided to end the ministry of the Capital Administration and Development Division. The drive against encroachments in Islamabad will continue, Chaudhry said.

It has approved the appointment of Haroon Sharif as the chairman of the Investment Board.

The cabinet has approved a task force to improve the performance of regulatory bodies.

The previous government did not provide gas to the urea industry in summer, which resulted in low production. "We will need to import 100,000 tons of urea," Chaudhry said. Low production of the Rabi crops is also linked to a shortage of urea.

He said the government will spend about Rs4 billion for importing urea.

The cabinet has approved the appointment of a new PTV chairman.

He said the Dams Fund will be exempted from income tax and withholding tax.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the cabinet meeting.

CPEC projects

Meanwhile, speaking at SAMAA TV’s talk-show “Awaz”, Chaudhry said the international media wants to make the CPEC project controversial.

“The statement of adviser to PM Abdul Razak Dawood was taken out of context in the Financial Times report,” he said.

The governments of both Pakistan and China have refuted an article published in the Financial Times that had alleged that Islamabad is looking to renegotiate its position in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The article quoted Dawood, saying that Pakistan “should put everything on hold for a year so we can get our act together.”

The ministry of industries later issued a rebuttal, saying that the statement attributed to the adviser “was taken out of context and distorted”.

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