A federal budget of more than Rs760 billion for the financial year of 2020-21 will be presented today. Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will present the budget with a Rs3,500 billion deficit. Financial assistance for those sectors affected by the novel coronavirus will also be discussed. The government aims to generate Rs4.95 trillion in tax revenue and increase the salaries of government employees by 10%.
The government has announced that it will not include any new taxes in the upcoming budget. Duties and tariffs on imports will also be reduced and multiple sectors will be given tax relaxations worth Rs1,150 billion. Tax rates will be increased for non-filers and taxes on luxury cars and houses will also be increased. The economy has suffered a loss of billions of rupees due to the novel coronavirus.
Attendance in the budget session today is expected to be less than usual because of the novel coronavirus. Opposition members such as Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and several other members will not attend the session as they have contracted the virus. Ministers Shehryar Afridi and Sheikh Rasheed will also not be present.
Employees have expressed their fear of the upcoming budget after reductions in their salaries due to COVID-19. They have demanded that the government provide them relief in the form of lower taxes. Experts have also advised that the government should decrease the financial burden on the public and called 2020-21’s budget the most difficult for the government so far.
Investors in the stock market have also raised their concerns over the budget. They said that the rate of capital gain tax and corporate tax should be reduced. The government should give investors and entrepreneurs an amnesty scheme like the one it gave the construction industry, they added.
The health sector is set to receive Rs14.5 billion in the new budget. Of this, Rs11.5 billion will be allotted for ongoing projects while the remaining will be spent on new programmes.
In the last 24 hours, 107 people across Pakistan have lost their lives due to the novel coronavirus taking the total death toll above 2,400. A record one-day high of more than 6,000 cases were reported. The total number of patients in the country has increased to 125,933.
Sindh Assembly member Nusrat Sehar Abbasi has called out the Sindh government for its corruption. She claimed that the province’s Health Minister Azra Pechuho was given the post as she was former president Asif Ali Zardari’s sister. “The PPP does not even know the coronavirus helpline, how will they work for the people here?” Abbasi asked.
Mosques in America, previously closed to COVID-19, have reopened. In multiple states online registrations have been made compulsory to attend prayers inside mosques. Only 100 people will be allowed inside a mosque at a time.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Pakistan Railways to look into its 76,000 employees, prepare a list of those who are incompetent and submit it to the court in a month. The chief justice remarked that the Railways has hired a lot more people than it requires.
An FIR has been registered in the Lyari building collapse that claimed 22 lives on June 7. The case has been registered at the Kalri police station against the building’s owner.
Pakistan on Friday announced the 29-member squad that will travel to England for three Tests and three T20Is. Haider Ali and Kashif Bhatti are the two uncapped players who have made it to the list. Coronavirus tests of players will be conducted on June 25 and 26.