The upper house of parliament is set to resume debate on the budget from Saturday.
Senators from the Awami National Party (ANP) submitted an adjournment motion against the increase in petroleum prices and the 17% sales tax imposition before the budget is passed by parliament.
Though the upper house does not have the power to stop the budget from being passed, it can forward recommendations to the National Assembly for necessary amendments. It is then entirely up to the lower house whether to incorporate the recommended changes or reject them.
Since the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) enjoys a large majority in the National Assembly, it is unlikely that it would give in to the opposition’s demand.
“Under which law has the government enforced the GST well before the budget is passed by parliament,” said ANP Senator Zahid Khan, one of the movers of the motion.
“The government will be questioned in this regard.”
Scores of other issues pertaining to the budget will also be taken up by senators taking part in the debate.
“The government did not raise salaries of their employees, despite announcing an increase in sales tax and withdrawing subsidy on the power sector. This will affect the common man the most,” said Khan.
“It’s a matter of great concern for us that the government has burdened the poor and middle class rather than imposing direct taxes targeting privileged classes,” he maintained.
“The government should take a step whereby it can increase its revenues without it having an impact on the poor.”
Khan said the PML-N has been voted to power in order to bring about a change, but it has disappointed the poor segments again.
PML-Q Senator Kamil Agha said there are numerous issues related to the recent budget which will be taken up in the upper house.
Acknowledging the fact that the Senate only has the authority to send over its recommendations, he said the senators will highlight the common man’s miseries which will be seen after the budget is set in motion.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2013.