The Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs in its meeting held on Friday took up the Finance Bill 2020, containing the Annual Budget statement presented in the House on 12 June, 2020. The Committee took up issues of traders and Industrialists that had been submitted to the Committee for review and deliberation. Recommendations made by Senators were reviewed as well.
Chaired by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, the meeting was attended by Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh, Senator Senator Talha Mehmood and senior officers from the Ministry for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Federal Board Revenue. Senator Kulsoom Parveen, Senator Seemee Ezdi, Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Senator, Senator Ghaus Muhammad Khan Niazi were present as well.
While deliberating over the various recommendations made the Committee allowed to companies involved in the manufacture of PPEs and masks certain relaxations. Raw materials used in the manufacture of these products were exempted from Customs Duty for a year as well.
The noose was tightened around cigarettes and other tobacco products. A 10 percent raise for Civil Servants as well as the Armed Forces was recommended. Sales tax on textiles was reduced to 4 percent. State Bank relief for PM Youth Program was recommended. Recommendations suggesting HEC be granted more funds for assisting online university education all over the country was approved as well. Expediting the process of privatization of ailing enterprises was recommended.
Senator Kulsoom Parveen, who along with some other Senators had recommended a 10 percent raise for Civil Servants was of the view that this was imperative due to inflation. She also recommended that Excise Duty must be increased on expensive cigarettes and that Excise Duty on cement must be decreased to 40 percent.
Senator Seemi Ezdi, opined that the Government has allocated PKR 50 billion under the Corona Stimulus Package for fertilizer subsidy, loan remission and other relief to farmers, keeping in view of the COVID-19 situation and food insecurity on account of locusts attacks, this allocation is insufficient, hence it must be increased to 50 percent.