ISLAMABAD - The Senate, which resumed discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year on Wednesday, unanimously approved 156 recommendations on the Finance Bill 2018-19 which have sent to the National Assembly. The recommendations were moved by Chairman of the House on Finance Committee Senator Farooq H. Naek.

The House recommended the tax rate of individuals on slab of Rs12,00,000 to Rs24,00,000, the tax rate be increased to ten per cent slab for Rs24,00,000 to Rs48,00,000, the tax rate be increased to 15 per cent and the slab for Rs48,00,000 and above be increased by 25 per cent.

The House recommended to the National Assembly that in order to protect the dairy sector, tariff on import of Skimmed Milk Power should be increased from 45 per cent to 50 per cent.

To encourage the use of solar energy, interest-free loans should be introduced for the installation of Solar Tube Wells for farmers owning up to 12 acres of land.

Resuming debate on the budget, Senator Rukhsana Zubairi from PPP said nothing had been allocated in the budget for controlling population.

Senator Talha Mehmood from the JUI-F alleged that indirect taxes had been enhanced in the budget, which would multiply the problems of the people having fixed income.

The industrial sector had suffered the worst due to electricity crisis, he said, adding those already paying taxes should not be burdened more. The private sector should be provided incentives to help overcome unemployment, he added.

He said long-term planning should be made to revive economy, overcome power shortage, and promote technical education in the country.

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Siraj-ul-Haq called for making minimum allocations for administrative expenses and reserving maximum amount for development projects.

He stressed equitable distribution of resources among various segments of the society to overcome poverty and lawlessness.

Introducing Zakat and Usher system in the country, he said, could help jump the number of tax payers from Rs800,000 to Rs90 million, ensuring plenty of money for development projects and undertaking poverty elimination projects.

Mirza Muhammad Afridi from FATA said the people had accepted the budget announced by the federal government. The tax network had been expanded while 3.8 per cent growth rate had been registered in the agriculture sector. The entire world had acknowledged the good work done by the government in many sectors, he added.

He also appreciated the government for allocating a huge amount for the development and welfare of the FATA people.

Attique Sheikh from MQM-P said that nothing had been announced for the common people. Karachi, the business hub of the country, had been ignored in the budget, he added.

Gul Bashra from Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) said that nothing had been announced for women in the budget.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali assured the House that no load-shedding will be observed during Sehar and Iftar timings in the holy month of Ramazan. He was responding to a calling attention moved by Sherry Rehman and others regarding load-shedding of electricity.

Abid Sher Ali said the PML-N government has added 13,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

He said today electricity generation stands at 19,300 megawatts, which is equal to the demand.

He said that 3500 megawatts electricity will be added to the system as a result of power projects being established by the government. He sought provincial governments’ cooperation against electricity theft. Responding to another calling attention notice, Minister for State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal said that amount of 219 million rupees of Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution will be paid soon.