Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said if the government could arrange Rs 60 billion from substitute sources, he was ready to reduce the slab of general sales tax (GST).
Participating in the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Monday, the finance minister said if the tax revenue increased, the government would provide relief in taxes next year.
He said it was high time to decide whether the economy or politics were top be saved. “To increase tax net and to avoid tax evasion of Rs 200 billion, decisions would have to be taken with an open heart. We have to refurbish the damaged infrastructure. We need money for Bhasha Dam project and Metro Bus Service in Karachi. To save the country, we have to take decisions above the politics,” Dar added.
He said the committee formed to increase the salary of government servants had proposed a raise of 7.5 percent, but the government enhanced pay and pension by 10 percent.
The government also raised the amount for Benazir Income Support Programme to Rs 70 billion from Rs 40 billion.
Dar said collection of agricultural and income tax had been combined. “The agriculture tax is a provincial matter. At present, Punjab is getting Rs 700 million, while Sindh is obtaining Rs 300 million from agriculture tax.”
He said the government had reduced non-development expenses, adding that expenditure incurred by government functionaries and Prime Minister’s Office had been reduced by 30 percent.
The finance minister said that by increasing internal and external debt, the government could give benefit to the people, but at the end of day, Pakistan would pay very heavy cost for that.
Dar said that it was the duty of parliament to give positive proposals on budget.
“Poverty alleviation is only possible when the rich of the country pay taxes.”
On the occasion, Senator Ilyas Bilour gave the proposal to levy tax on every kind of property except one house and one shop.
Senator Kulsoom Parveen said it must be ensured that development funds allocated for Balochistan province were not be used in any other provinces.
Committee chairperson Nasreen Jalil said FBR did not present factual position and the increase in GST by one percent would increase the anxiety of the people.
She said no measure was suggested in the finance bill to prevent the electricity theft.
Senators Fateh Muhammad Hasni, Ilyas Bilour, Usman Saif Ullah, Haji Adeel, Kulsoom Parveen, Islamud Din Sheikh, Hamayun Khan Mandokhel, Talha Mehmood, Nuzhat Sadiq and Finance Secretary Waqar Masood and FBR Chairman Ansar Javed participated in the meeting.