Islamabad - The Senate on Wednesday resumed discussion on the national budget 2018-2019 with seven members both from treasury and opposition benches spoke for and against the budget.

Senator Lt. Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum from the ruling PML-N, while taking part in the debate, described the budget as pragmatic one.

He said that the PML-N government has added 12,230 megawatts of electricity to the national grid during its five-year term.

Senator Qayyum said this has been made possible through various energy projects, including Neelam-Jhelum, enhancement of Tarbela Power Station, LNG-based power projects, Coal Fired Power Plants, and Nuclear and Renewable Energy Projects. He said several other projects are also in the completion phase.

Commenting on higher level of foreign debt, he said imports usually increase when development projects like energy and infrastructure are being undertaken.

The PML-N senator said the government welcomes constructive criticism from the opposition benches but they should refrain from hurling baseless allegations. 

Senator Azam Khan Swati from PTI said the budget was a mere bunch of figures and does not offer any thing significant for the common man. He criticised the government for the so-called tax reforms and emphasised the need for enhancing tax base in the country. He also emphasised on reforming and facilitating the agriculture and energy sectors.

Senator Sitara Ayaz of ANP said that new budget does not seem pro-poor. She said the government should further facilitate smaller provinces to bring them at par with developed parts of the country.

Senator Sassi Palijo from PPP said that nothing significant has been presented for Sindh and other smaller provinces in the new budget.

She said this budget was presented without approving National Finance Commission Award. She said it is also regrettable that the budget was presented by a non-elected person. She said a huge cut of billions of rupees was done to smaller provinces.

Senator Faisal Javed from PTI said that indirect taxes have been increased in the budget and it does not entail anything to provide relief to common masses. He said that the number of tax filers has declined instead of going up. He stressed the need for taking steps to curb corruption to revamp Pakistan’s economy.

Senator Ghaus Muhammad Khan Niazi from PML-N said the government launched tax amnesty scheme to facilitate overseas Pakistanis to bring back their money and invest it in Pakistan. He said nobody will invest in Pakistan if he is not sure of protection of its money.

Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan said the PML-N government restored peace in Karachi, scaled down inflation, defeated terrorism, and revamped Pakistan’s economy.

He said the federal government initiated projects across Pakistan without any discrimination. He said the PML-N government funded K-4 project in Karachi, Green Line bus project, and other projects of highways and motorways in Sindh.

The minister said it is the PML-N government, which started work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam and completed extension of Tarbela and Mangla dams.

He said the PML-N enjoys complete confidence of the people of Pakistan and it has presented a masses friendly budget. He said that all political parties should join hands in putting country on path of rapid progress, development, and prosperity. The House was adjourned to meet again Thursday at 3 PM.