ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani on Thursday asked the government to implement recommendations of the Upper House on budget and Public Sector Development Programme in letter and in spirit.

In his ruling, the Senate chairman asked the government to implement Senate resolutions demanding to empower the Upper House to have a viable role in the Finance Bill, especially in the PSDP.

 “Resolutions passed by the Senate reflect the aspirations of the Upper House of the Parliament being the House of Federation. The government is advised to implement the resolutions of the Senate with regard to the role of the Senate in the Finance Bill especially the PSDP, in letter and spirit. We will also deliberate the matter in the Business Advisory Committee,” said the Senate chairman in his ruling.

Earlier, senators largely belonging to opposition parties asked the government to enhance the powers of the Senate equal to that of the National Assembly to authorize to approve money bills including the Finance Bill.

These demands were floated by senators including Leader of the Opposition in Senate Sherry Reman, Usman Khan Kakar, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Farooq H Naek, Abdul Qayyum, Sikandar Mandhro, Rehman Malik, Mushtaq Ahmad, Sassui Palijo, Talha Mehmood, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Imamudin Shouqeen, and Mohsin Aziz.

Earlier, while speaking on a point of order, Senator Rehman demanded that the government incorporated recommendations in the budget and sought the ruling of the chair about the powers of the Senate. 

Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal assured the House that the recommendations adopted by the Senate will be incorporated in the budget for the year 2018-2019.

While winding up a debate on the budget for next fiscal year, the minister said that provinces were getting 56 percent extra funds under a new mechanism.

He said that the provinces were getting Rs1 billion from the federal government on a daily basis.

He said that the federating units were also collecting a good amount from provincial taxes and Sindh was taking the lead in this regard.

The minister said that the GDP growth rate of 5.8 percent and tax to GDP rate 13.2 percent and the revenue collected by the FBR had reached Rs4 trillion.

Afzal said that the PSDP of provinces has gone up three times high. He said inflation remained at 3.8 percent this year as compared to 11 to 17 percent in the past.

The minister said that the government gave a boost to the agriculture sector by giving subsidies on fertilizers, agriculture credit and the agriculture package.

He said that 12,000 megawatts of electricity had been added to the national grid enabling the government to provide uninterrupted power to the industry.

Afzal said that exports were rebounding after facing many challenges in the recent years.

He said that per capita income has increased to Rs1,29000 to Rs1, 80000 per year due to prudent income policies of the government.

He said that industry, agriculture and service sectors have shown tremendous growth during the last five years. He stressed the need for consolidating positive impacts of the CPEC in the future.

Afzal said that tax exemptions announced in the budget will cost Rs80 billion to the government which will be compensated from the higher tax collection of Rs4 trillion. He said that reduced taxes will be an incentive to the business community.

The minister said that the government has increased the house ceiling (hiring allowance of public servants) by 50 percent to resolve the problem of housing for government employees.

Regarding the amnesty scheme, the minister said major beneficiaries of the scheme were ordinary Pakistanis who had either invested in the real estate sector or they went abroad due to a number of problems they faced in the country.

He also assured the house that funds have been allocated for the western route of CPEC and it would be completed by June.

He said that allocations for FATA were Rs100 billion for ten years and this year, Rs10 billion will go for infrastructure development in the region.

He said that small dams in Balochistan were essential but the provincial government needed to come up with concrete projects to address the water depletion issue.