PTI leader rejects ‘Super Tax’ on large-scale manufacturing units

| Asad Umar says such measures will squeeze economy further



ISLAMABAD   –   Lashing out at the government for imposing ‘Super Tax’ on large-scale industries, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Asad Umar said Friday that the move would prove counter-productive; as such measures of the ruling coalition would not only increase inflation and unemployment in the country but also squeeze the economy further.

Speaking at a press conference here, he said that imposition of super tax was a huge blow to the growing industries because it was levied on the sectors generating employment. “Therefore, the new tax would increase rank and file problems, as it would cause unemployment.”

He further said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government presented the “real budget today” as earlier one presented in the National Assembly was provisional. He added that the government had violated the Constitution by doing so as the Senate would not be able to discuss the matter of imposition of super tax, which has already given its recommendation on the Finance Bill 2022 to the lower house of parliament.

Asad Umar said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed in his speech that the country was going bankrupt; however, he added that Imran Khan’s government had worked hard to increase foreign exchange reserves in three and a half years.

He claimed that at the end of PML-N government, the foreign exchange reserves were $9. 97 billion in June 2018, which surged by about $7 billion to $16.4 billion by the day the no-confidence motion was tabled to topple the “well-performing” PTI government. But now the foreign reserves have declined by half, he said, adding that the PML-N brought the country to the brink of default.

“In our time, the country’s growth rate had reached 6 percent, it was not bankrupt, as industries, agriculture, exports and remittances were booming,” he added.

The former federal minister also stated that the PML-N presented the real budget today, as the government made the announcement about the super tax after 14 days bypassing the Senate which was a sheer violation of the constitutional rights.

He stated that according to the Constitution, when the budget was presented, the Senate had a time of 14 days to debate on it and presents its recommendations to the National Assembly. The government should hold a 14-day mandatory budgetary debate in the upper house or else the budget would be unconstitutional and could be challenged in the court of law.

He said that PM Shehbaz Sharif made the budget-related announcements outside the National Assembly, which was unprecedented, as he did not have the courage to announce the new taxes on the floor of the house. “On one side the rulers ask the people to cut expenditures, on the other side they provide relief to themselves,” he maintained.

Asad went on to say that at first, the government increased input costs by massive increase in fuel, electricity and gas prices and then increased financing costs with a sharp increase in interest rates. “Now heavy additional taxation is the third assault on the productive sectors of the economy.” He underlined that the government increased the prices of diesel by Rs 120 and petrol by Rs 84, electricity by 45 percent and gas by 47 percent, while prices of flour, pulses, and other items were skyrocketing.

“After imposition of dozens of new taxes, it is being said that if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not make any new demands, the agreement would be reached,” he added. Asad claimed that the “incompetent cabinet” was clueless and did not understand what to do with Pakistan and the people, as inflation reached 27.8 percent last week and was expected to reach above 30 percent. He said that as PM Shehbaz delivered a speech, the stock market crashed by more than 2000 points.

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