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NA passes mini-budget as govt withdraw several proposed taxes

Proposed taxes on laptops, solar panels, several other items withdrawn

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 13, 2022 | Last Updated: 1 week ago
Posted: Jan 13, 2022 | Last Updated: 1 week ago

The National Assembly has passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, also known as the mini-budget, with a majority vote. The federal government proved a majority of 18 members in the National Assembly.

The bill was passed after Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announced that the government has withdrawn its proposals to impose GST on solar panels, laptops, bread, imported infant formula (milk), smaller cars, and a few bakery items.

The opposition motions for several tax cuts were rejected.

Before the individual motions from the opposition were put to a vote one by one, the members were asked to identify if they opposed or supported the amendments. At least 168 members voted in favour of the government and 150 supported the opposition, according to Speaker Asad Qasier.

PMLN’s Ahsan Iqbal said the opposition has challenged the count and a recount must be made.

The speaker later ruled that a recount was not possible. The opposition accused him of bulldozing the bill and protested before his dais.

The government motions to withdraw some of the taxes were approved by a majority.

After the bill was passed, Planning Minister Asad Umar said he congratulates Prime Minister Imran Khan. “We see the defeated army of opposition here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have held protests inside and outside the Parliament House against

As soon as Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in the National Assembly, the government MPs welcomed him by thumping their desks. Opposition MNAs, on the other hand raised slogan. They refused to sit down on their benches for a while.

They also held up placards with slogans, ‘Naya Pakistan mehnga Pakistan’ and ‘state bank ki ghulami na-manzoor.’ The new Pakistan has proved expensive and the country is being made slave to the central bank.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan chaired the parliamentary party meeting of the PTI and its allies. The meeting was overshadowed by reports of an altercation between Defence Minister Pervez Khattak on the one hand and Imran Khan and federal ministers on the other.

Before Thursday’s session, the federal government reached out to its allies. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met with Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PMLQ) leaders Moonis Ilahi and Khusro Bakhtiar, both federal ministers in his cabinet.

The meeting at the Bani Gala residence of Imran Khan was followed by a statement from the PMLQ that it would support the government on the mini-budget.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, another coalition partner, has still not openly assured the government of its support. 

The MQM has recommended 11 changes to the supplementary finance bill and it is still waiting for a positive response from the government team, SAMAA TV reported on Thursday.

Opposition holds protest outside the Parliament House

The opposition parties had planned to hold protests both inside and outside Parliament.

The protest outside the Parliament was led by Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif. PMLN workers marched from Rawalpindi while the PPP activists also joined them at Parliament.

Hazara Tehreek workers also staged a demonstration.

Shehbaz said Pakistan has never been ruled by such an incompetent government in its history. The mini-budget would ruin people, he said.

Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other opposition leaders on Wednesday criticized the mini-budget and vowed to block it.

Under the supplementary finance bill, the government plans to withdraw tax exemption on 150 items including paper, sewing machines, beauty products, and mobile phones.

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