PA passes Finance Bill with majority vote

| No new tax imposed in budget 2021-22 | budget made business-friendly in context of Covid-19

LAHORE   -   The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Finance Bill 2021-22 with majority.

Law Minister Raja Basharat laid the Schedule of Authorised Expenditure for the Year 2021-22 and also introduced the Ghazi National Institute of Engineering and Sciences, Dera Ghazi Khan Bill 2021.

The session started two hours behind the scheduled time with Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair. Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was also present in the House.

Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the bill before the House for approval.

According to the bill, the government has given a package of Rs51 billion for revival of business activities during the fiscal year 2021-22. No new tax has been imposed in the budget, and the government has tried to make it a business-friendly budget in the context of Covid-19. The relief, given to 23 sectors during the last fiscal year, will continue. Tax reduction from 16 percent to 5 percent has been extended to 10 more services. Rate of tax on call centres has been reduced to 16 percent from 19.5 percent.

According to the budget documents, the board of revenue will continue with 1 percent stamp duty rate with a total impact of Rs40 billion to boost construction activities in the province and attract new investment.

Also, the government has decided to continue with reduced sales tax rate of 5 percent, instead of 16 percent, on more than 25 services in the next fiscal year. The Punjab government has introduced this rate during the current fiscal year and it will continue the next financial year as well. These services include small hotels and guest houses, marriage halls, lawns, marquees, tent and catering services, information technology services, tour operators, gyms, property dealers, rent-a-car service, cable TV operators, treatment of textile and leather, commission agents of agriculture commodities, accounting and taxation, auditing, consultancy services, photography and parking services. The government has added 10 more services to this list including beauty parlours, fashion designers, home chefs, architect, laundries and dry cleaners, supply of machinery, warehouse, dress designers, rental bulldozers, etc.

The government has fixed tax rate at 16 percent for cash payment by restaurants and 5 percent through credit or debit card payments that helps documentation of the economy. The Punjab government has reduced tax rate to 5 percent on mobile wallet and payment through QR code. Under the excise and taxation department, the government will facilitate taxpayers in payment of property tax in two instalments during the next fiscal year like the present one. The government has also restricted penalty against surcharge on property and motor vehicle to the last two quarters of the next fiscal year.

Earlier, on a point of order, PML-N’s Taufiq Butt drew attention of the chair to the arrest of party workers for criticising the present regime on social media. The chair asked the law minister to look into the matter.

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