ISLAMABAD - Senate on Tuesday adopted with majority vote some 145 recommendations, those according to Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh would highly be considered, and sent the same to the Lower House of the Parliament with the request for incorporation in the Finance Bill 2012-13.
Following the adoption of general majority recommendations, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh in his concluding remarks before the prorogation of the House at culmination of budget session appreciated the contribution of Senate in preparing recommendations for annual budget 2012-13 assuring that Upper House would receive highest consideration in the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, as the House initiated its business the legislators belonging to MQM staged a token walkout from the House over the deteriorating law and order situation specifically the ongoing target killings in Karachi.
The Senate recommended that instead of declaring the Prime Minister's House, which according to them is a symbol of dignity and honour of the nation, as an educational institute the Prime Minister House and Secretariat should adopt austerity measures and curtail non-essential expenditure.
The House also recommended that in order to enhance collection of FBR on assets the proposed rules might be framed in consultation with the provinces in order to avoid the potential litigation. The House also suggested that the rate of tax collected by withholding agents against the sale made to traders and distributors might be reduced from one percent to 0.5 per cent.
It also recommended that financial aid given through BISP might be conditioned with compulsory children education and share of the province of Balochistan in BISP may be enhanced. Through a recommendation, the Senate suggested the National Assembly that ensuring promotion of organised microfinance sector, venture capital financing, cooperative farming, agricultural reforms, small medium enterprises, labour intensive and value additional industries might be opted.
The House also recommended improving equity in taxation system by increasing direct and indirect taxed ratio besides suggesting that energy shortages might be resolved by settling of circular debt.
It also called for grant of incentive for investment, industrialisation, growth and employment opportunities. Senate also recommended that import duty on luxury cars above 1600-CC might be enhanced.
The Upper House of the Parliament also recommended that 0.2 million unemployed youth may be given internship opportunity to develop their skills instead of 0.1 million proposed.
The senate called for overall tax GDP ration, which is less than 10 per cent at present may be doubled in the coming fiscal year. The House also suggested the National Assembly that allocation of Rs 182 billion for energy sector is insufficient and that in order to resolve the issue Rs 500 billion might be allocated for this sector. It also suggested that allocation of special funds for higher education commission within their existing budget for agriculture research and development programme.
Earlier, Senator Nasreen Jalil while presenting the report of Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs and Statistics on the Finance Bill and Annual Budget Statement 2012-13 informed the House that a total of 287 recommendations were sent by the Senators to committee. She said out of 287, 145 recommendations have been finalised and made part of report.
Leader of Opposition Senator Ishaq Dar while opposing a recommendation that would ensure provision of development funds to legislators said in Finance Bill 2012-13 suggested that Rs27 billion reserved under the Peoples Works Programme and is on the discretion of the Prime Minister should be diverted to energy sector.
On the occasion, Senator Haji Adeel of ANP said Chief Minister Punjab enjoys discretionary funds amounting to Rs40 billion, that should be abolished first.
Earlier, the senators including Farah Aqil of ANP, Haji Ghulam Ali of JUI-F, Robina Irfan of PML-Q taking part in budget debate criticised the government for energy shortage in the country.