Budget debate: Senate approves 145 recommendations -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Budget debate: Senate approves 145 recommendations

WASIM IQBAL

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was prorogued sine die soon after passing unanimously 145 recommendations, which were approved by Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Planning and Development.

The Senate session was chaired by Nayer Hussain Bukhari, which held general discussion on Federal Budget 2012-13. Senator Nasreen Jalil, Chairperson of Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, laid the recommendations of the committee before the Upper House for consideration.

She said that the committee approved 145 out of 287 recommendations presented by individuals during ninth meeting of the committee.

She said, “Senate may make recommendations to the National Assembly on the Finance Bill 2012, containing the Annual Budget Statement under Article 73 of the Constitution.”

Opposition Leader in the Senate, Senator Ishaq, however, gave alternate proposals on two recommendations regarding Peoples Work Programme (PWP) 1 and 2.

He proposed that the allocation of Rs.5 billion for PWP one and the allocation of Rs.22 billion for the PWP-2 should be reduced to Rs.1 billion each and saving of Rs.25 billion be allocated for energy sector in order to minimize the on-going load shedding.

He also recommended that Rs.25 billion budgeted allocation for PWP-2 should be released conditionally, which bound Prime Minister to utilize this amount on energy projects.

He further suggested that Rs.25 billion must surrendered to Planning Commission for specifically to those projects for bridging energy deficit in the country.

He said this recommendation has backing of 17 lawmakers of Pakistan Muslim League-N.

He further recommended that discretionary funds of Prime Minister must be directed towards eradication of energy crises. Lawmaker from ANP, coalition partner of the ruling PPP, Haji Adeel endorsed Dar that discretionary funds of provincial chief minister should be abolished and such amount should spend on energy projects.

The reports of Auditor General for the Audit year 2011-12 were presented in Senate. Earlier, Senator Col Tahir Hussain Mashhadi (retd) staged a token walk out over law and order situation in Karachi.

He said federal government was not giving due attention to the killings taking place in Karachi.

He demanded of the Chairman Senate to call Interior Minister to the House, who should inform Senator regarding the actual situation in Karachi.

Taking part in the discussion on Budget, JUI-F’s Haji Ghulam Ali opposed the federal government to impose 16 percent sale tax on industries in FATA.

He said that officials of FBR admitted that they collected Rs.500 million taxes, but lost Rs7.5 billion revenue in current fiscal year by imposing sales tax.

He further alleged annual budget 2012-13 was jugglery of words and has nothing with reality.

Energy crisis in the country was becoming worst day by day but federal government was not taking concrete steps to control the energy deficit, he opined.

He said federal government showed non-seriousness by giving low attention to power projects in KPK.

Senator Robina Irfan drew the attention of Senate towards law and order situation in Balochistan. She said, “Law and order situation in Balochistan is pathetic.”

She demanded of the federal government to ask IRSA why Government of Sindh disconnected water supply to Balochistan.

Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Sheikh promised the Senators to give highest considerations to the proposals of Senators in finalization of annual budget.

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