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Govt retains tax exemptions on laptops, solar panels, bread, milk: Tarin

Tarin said the bill was aimed at documenting the country’s economy. Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has proved a majority of 18 members in the National Assembly as it votes on the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021, dubbed as the ‘mini-budget’.

Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Shaukat Tarin said the government had decided not to withdraw tax exemptions on basic essential items such as milk, bread, laptop and solar panels.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Tarin said that the finance supplementary bill, 2021 was aimed at documenting the country’s economy. “No new taxes are being imposed, they are just being documented,” he said.

PMLN’s Ahsan Iqbal said the opposition has challenged the count and a recount must be made. The speaker said the opposition does not have the prerogative to call for a vote recount.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also arrived in the National Assembly and was welcomed by treasury benches. The opposition, on the other hand, raised slogans and refused to sit down on their benches.

Meanwhile, a motion to circulate the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 for the purpose of eliciting opinion on it from the lawmakers belonging to the Opposition was rejected with a majority vote.

On the demand of the opposition, voting was ordered by the Speaker of the National Assembly on the motion. A total of 150 lawmakers voted in favor of the motion, while 168 opposed it.

PPP lawmaker Shazia Marri moved an amendment by citing Rule 124 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007 and demanded to circulate the bill related to the mini-budget. She said that the public should be given the right to decide about the bill and it should be circulated for eliciting opinion.

Earlier PM Imran Khan chaired the parliamentary party meeting of the PTI and its allies. The meeting was overshadowed by reports of an altercation between Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and the prime minister.

Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said that the government would present a few amendments to the supplementary finance bill to accommodate recommendations.  Special Advisor to the PM Babar Awan had earlier said the government plans to get the bill passed today.

The opposition parties had announced to hold protests both inside and outside Parliament against the bill.  The protest outside the Parliament has begun was led by Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

PML-N workers marched from Rawalpindi while the PPP activists also joined them at Parliament. Shehbaz said Pakistan has never been ruled by such an incompetent government in its history and the mini-budget would ruin people.

Under the supplementary finance bill, the government plans to withdraw tax exemption on 150 items including paper, sewing machines, beauty products, and mobile phones.

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