ISLAMABAD  -   Relief measures announced by the government through second amendment finance bill 2019 would likely be applicable from the start of next month (March) including allowing non-taxpayers to purchase vehicles up to 1300cc.

The PTI led coalition government had presented the second amendment finance bill 2019 in National Assembly on January 23. The Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser had prorogued the assembly session on January 25 without initiating debate on the amendment finance bill. President Asif Alvi had summoned the National Assembly session on February 18 wherein the amendment financial bill 2019 would be approved.

“Measures announced through the amended finance bill 2019 will be made effective after President’s assent on the bill,” said an official of the Federal Board of Revenue. He further said that government would review the recommendations of the Senate for incorporating in the second amendment finance bill 2019. The Senate had adopted about 55 recommendations on the supplementary finance bill for further consideration of the National Assembly.

The government, in its second mini budget, had provided relief to print media industry, small and medium enterprises (SME), agriculture, housing, industry and boosting stock market. The tax rate was being reduced from 39 percent to 20 percent for income of banks arising out of additional SME financing, agricultural financing and low cost housing. The government had also announced to establish Rs5 billion revolving fund for interest free loans to provide low-income housing. The government had reduced the tax on wedding halls up to 500 square feet to Rs5000 from existing Rs20,000 in order to facilitate the poor segment of the society

Meanwhile, the government had targeted expensive mobile phones and luxury cars for taxation. The government had allowed the non-taxpayers to purchase vehicles up to 1300cc. Besides, it announced to withdraw withholding tax on banking deposits and transactions for the filers in order to encourage them. The government has increased the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on imported cars and jeeps of engine capacity exceeding 1800cc to 25 percent from existing 20 percent. Meanwhile, the FED on imported cars and jeeps of engine capacity exceeding 3000cc has enhanced to 30 percent. Furthermore, it has proposed to levy Excise Duty of 10 percent on locally manufactured/assembled cars and SUVs etc with engine capacity exceeding 1800cc.

However, the Senate in its proposals on Supplementary Finance (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 had recommended the National Assembly 10 per cent raise in the salaries of all government employees as interim relief allowance. However, sources in Ministry of Finance said that government is not in position to increase salaries of civil servants.