ISLAMABAD Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh while winding up debate budget in the Upper House of the Parliament on Friday said if the Government had not accepted the IMF programme, it might have defaulted. He urged the Parliamentarians to express the same spirit to boost up national economy as was shown in the passage of the 18th Amendment. He while refuting the allegations of Opposition members about playing number game said that the Government had not played any number game with the budget document rather it took some bold but unpopular steps. I, the President and the Prime Minister resisted Cabinet members pressure and the Cabinet members resisted pressure of their constituencies, he added. He termed the budget only an account of expenditures and income of the Government, adding that the original thing was the economic management. He remarked that for the first time no increase was seen in the Custom Duty rather the Government decreased duties on 29 items related to usage of common man. No income tax was increased and the Government only increased the limit of that tax on the salaried class, he informed. To minimise the effect of inflation on common man is the focal point of the fiscal policy of the Government, he said and added that the Governments borrowing resulted in inflation and raise in mark-up. The Minister called for targeted subsidies, saying that the Government was not against the subsidies but wanted to rationalise them. He added that the Government would not allow the wholesale of subsidies in the name of the poor and providing benefits to the rich. He called to gain self-reliance, dispelling the impression that the Government had withdrawn subsidies on edible items. He also suggested to reform two decades-old system of GST and informed the House that it would not be imposed on health as well as education sectors and edible items. He said that its impact would be only on dishonest as well as tax evaders as they had to go for transparency and self-reliance acknowledging the mood of the nation. We are trying to balance direct and indirect taxes and we will work it out after the budget to improve tax to GDP ratio, he informed the House. In his concluding remarks, the Minister said, We have to go back to higher growth rate. It is our major goal. Before the concluding speech of Hafiz Sheikh, the Opposition moved eight motions for making recommendations to the Finance Bill, 2010 and one of them was rejected by majority of vote while the others were withdrawn by the movers themselves. The motions regarding making the Federal Bureau of Statistics as autonomous body, introduction of Wealth Tax and the decrease in maximum mark-up rate for the business and industry at 10 percent per annum were withdrawn by the movers on the assurance of the Finance Minister that those would be considered by taking all the stakeholders on board and parliamentary committees should be constituted in this regard. The motion regarding reduction in the current expenditures of the Government by 20 percent and the corresponding amount should be allocated for HEC budget was opposed by majority of vote. From the very start of the House proceedings on Friday, Senators of JUI-F belonging to Balochistan and ANP staged a token walkout from Senate against the remarks of Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), General (Retd) Nadeem regarding flood-affected areas of Balochistan. General (Retd) Nadeem in his remarks had said that the extent of losses caused by floods in Balochistan was low and no help of any NGOs was required for the relief work. The Chairman Senate also gave ruling on the privilege motion of Prof Khurshid Ahmed saying that the motion stood disqualified as the President re-promulgated 12 Ordinances before the passage of 18th Amendment. The House was adjourned sans die before the Chairman Senate, Farooq H Naek announced to carry forward the questions, resolutions and motions of the budget session for the next session to save those from invalidity.