”Mini-budget” this month

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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is going to present another ”Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2019,” envisaging taxation measures of around Rs 150 billion, in the coming session of the National Assembly to be held on January 14 to address the economic challenges of the country, it is learnt.

According to sources, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar is likely to present the ”mini-budget” in the House on January 17 or 18. The Lower House of the Parliament would approve the bill after a detailed discussion without referring it to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs as it has not been constituted so far.

The ”Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2019” would also be laid before the Upper House (Senate) of the Parliament for discussion and recommendations on the bill.

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Under the proposed ”Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2019,” the government is likely to introduce proposals to generate as additional revenue of Rs 150 billion with the objective of narrowing over Rs 170 billion shortfall during the first half of the current fiscal year.

The government, sources stated, wants to support the export sector and customs duties on raw material being used by export industries are likely to be reduced in the ”Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2019.”

Also Read: Upcoming second mini-budget to be defining moment for economy

The government may move certain items from lower slab of customs duty to higher slabs under Pakistan Customs Tariff with the possibility to bring certain items from the slab of 10 percent to 15 percent. The Federal Board of Revenue is finalising a list of items to be brought from lower slab to higher slab of customs duty.

The proposals under consideration included increase in sales tax on petroleum products, a raise in excise duty on cigarettes, cement, beverages, and vehicles (1600cc and above), increase in the rate of additional customs duty – from 2 to 3 percent – on imports and further increase in the rate of withholding taxes for non-filers.

The ”Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2019” may reduce withholding tax on banking transactions for both filers and non-filers.

The government may increase sales tax on domestic supplies of five zero-rated sectors, fix tax regime for commercial/retail businesses to generate additional revenue and increase sales tax to standard 17 percent rate for 1-2 sectors where lower rates or special tax rates are applicable.

The members of the Senate under the law would debate on the Bill in the House as well as in the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs for preparing recommendation within 14 days.

The Senate cannot approve the bill but under the Constitution, it can submit recommendations on the Bill to the National Assembly Secretariat within 14 days.

According to Article 73 (1) of the Constitution, “A Money Bill shall originate in the National Assembly:

“Provided that simultaneously when a money bill, including the finance bill containing the annual budget statement, is presented in the National Assembly, a copy thereof shall be transmitted to the Senate which may, within fourteen days, make recommendations thereon to the National Assembly.

“(1A) The National Assembly shall consider the recommendations of the Senate and after the bill has been passed by the Assembly with or without incorporating the recommendations of the Senate, it shall be presented to the President for assent.”

(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on January 10th, 2019)

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