National Assembly passes the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023 Proposing additional taxes and duties of Rs 170 billion to meet the understanding reached with the IMF

National Assembly passes the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023, proposing additional taxes & duties of Rs 170 billion

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

The National Assembly passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023, proposing additional taxes and duties of Rs 170 billion to meet the understanding reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the Extended Fund Facility.

According to the bill, General Sales Tax will be increased from 17 percent to 18 percent. It has been decided to enhance the GST on luxury items from 17 percent to 25 percent. For the air travel, it has been proposed that a fixed amount of Federal Excise Duty ranging from 250,000 rupees to 75,000 rupees of different tiers as per the International Air Transport Association on airfare for first, business and club classes should be imposed. Besides, ten percent withholding adjustable advance tax will be levied on the bills of wedding halls in order to promote simplicity and austerity. The Federal Excise Duty will be enhanced on sugary and aerated drinks, while FED will be increased on cement from 1.5 rupees to two rupees per kilogrammes.

Winding up discussion on the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said the government fully realizes people’s problems due to rising inflation, but are compelled to take tough measures to strengthen the economy. He said the government has allocated an additional amount of 40 billion rupees for Benazir Income Support Programme raising 25 percent stipend of BISP beneficiaries.

Regarding austerity measures, Ishaq Dar said Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will soon announce a comprehensive policy to reduce government expenditure.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the lower house of parliament that a few amendments have made to the bill which includes an increase in excise duty on business class air travel abroad.

Before the mini-budget’s approval, Ishaq Dar — while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly — said the government appreciated recommendations by lawmakers for the bill and thanked the house for participating in debate regarding the bill. He also said the government considered recommendations shared by the parliamentarians.

The finance czar further added the government introduced the mini-budget following the IMF’s conditions. “We also don’t like imposing taxes. We tried keeping a minimum rate of additional taxes.”

The House rejected all the amendments moved by the opposition.

Earlier on Monday, State Minister for Finance Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha said the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 was likely to be approved today by the NA.

The minister added that the government decided to get the mini-budget approved by the lower house today. It should be noted that it was already approved in the Senate by a thin margin.

“Virtual discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are ongoing and talks will also take place today,” the minister said while speaking to journalists in Islamabad.

Pasha hoped for a staff-level agreement to materialise with the IMF soon. “Matters with the IMF are progressing in a positive direction. A further delay in the agreement is unlikely.”

The National Commission for Minorities Bill, 2023 was laid before the House. The bill was introduced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Earlier, the newly elected Member National Assembly Mahmood Baqi Moulvi took the oath of office. He was elected on PTI ticket on a seat vacated due to death of PTI MNA Dr Amir Liaqaut. Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf administered the oath.