The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Ishaq Dar introduced the supplementary Finance Bill 2023 (mini-budget) in the National Assembly today. The coalition government seeks to fulfill the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure the loan program needed to avoid a default.
While addressing the lower house of parliament, the Minister compared the performance of the previous PML-N and PTI governments. He announced an increase of 18% in General Sales Tax (GST) against 17% and Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes has also been increased by the government recently.
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Proposals of mini-budget
The government has increased GST on luxury items from 17% to 25% while it has been increased to 18% on other items. Similarly, the FED on cigarettes, fizzy drinks, and cement has also been increased. The FED on cement will be raised from Rs 1.5 per kg to Rs 2 per kg. The Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) handouts increased to Rs 400 billion from Rs 360 billion. Likewise, the FED on business and first-class air tickets at 20% or Rs 50,000 will be imposed. Moreover, an adjustable tax on marriage halls was introduced at 10%. However, daily use items including wheat, rice, milk, pulses, and meat have been exempted from the increase.
Furthermore, the session of the Senate has also been summoned to move the bill to the upper house. The bill will be sent to the President for assent after its approved by both houses. The federal government decided to pass the Finance Bill from the parliament at President’s suggestion. The President advised to take parliament into confidence on the Bill and the session should be called immediately so that the bill is approved without any delay.
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The National Assembly will not be sending the bill for further consideration to the standing committee on Finance and Revenue, while the Senate has referred the legislation to the relevant committee.