LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Finance Bill (Amendment) 2014, triggering strong protest and walkout of the Opposition against revival of old taxation system.
After relaxation of assembly rules, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan moved the bill containing amendment of reviving the old taxation system.
Coming hard on the treasury over hasty move of withdrawal of previous legislation, Opposition leader Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed termed it a drone attack on public at large. He said that the treasury had brought the amendment in haste and without consulting the opposition legislators. He said that the amendment was against the interests of the masses. He said that it was a pity that the treasury was withdrawing the previous legislation without giving its benefit to the masses. He said that the Opposition would not become part of this bad decision and boycott the assembly proceedings. The Opposition walked out of the house in protest.
Giving reasons of bringing the bill in haste, Rana Sanaullah said that the previous legislation regarding reducing the property tax from 20 per cent to 10 per cent was aimed at reviewing draft valuation tables. The draft valuation tables for the revision of property tax were published for soliciting objections and suggestions. The tax payers in general and business community in particular raised concerns on the revised draft valuation tables which were almost 10 per cent more than the 12 years old levied taxes.
Instead of transferring huge burden on the masses, the government decided to hold the revised valuation list in abeyance and to restore the previous system. He said that the Opposition boycotted without having any understanding of the amendment bill. The treasury passed the Bill in the absence of the Opposition. After the passage of the Bill, the Opposition joined the proceedings but the prorogued the session.
Earlier during Question Hour on S&GAD, Parliamentary Secretary Asghar Ali Munda said that the chief minister has the power of relaxing rules for allotting out of turn residences. He informed the House that the CM had so far allotted 600 official residences out of turn but the rules were relaxed just to accommodate officers keeping in view the merit.
The parliamentary secretary, however, failed to define merit. The legislators asked him as when this tradition of allotting out of turn official residence would come to an end. He said that there were 171 residences in GOR-I including 70 allotted to officers, 25 to judges of superior courts, 20 among ministers and administrative officers, nine residences were being used as the Chief Minister Secretariat and relevant offices while 47 residences were allotted to those officers who were posted in the federal government.