LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly adopting the Finance Bill 2015 has formally approved the annual budget 2015-16 on Wednesday, while the Opposition boycotted the session when the Treasury moved the third bill from the agenda.

The house after passing the Finance Bill, adopted the Punjab Infrastructure Development Cess Bill 2015 and laid the Schedule of Authorized Expenditure for the Year 2015-16. However, the Opposition boycotted the session when the government tried to move the Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2015, the Stamp (Amendment) Bill 2015, the Punjab Masstransit Authority Bill 2015 and the Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan (Amendment) Bill 2015.

The Opposition boycotted the session saying that this government business was not discussed in the House Business Advisory Committee meeting. Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed speaking on a point of order rejecting the Finance Bill said that it would push the masses towards further poverty.

He said that adopting the Finance Bill 2015 without incorporating any proposed amendment of the opposition clearly indicates that the life of the working classes would become more miserable.

He added that imposition of 16 percent tax on transportation of agriculture goods and new taxes on air tickets would make the life of the people more difficult.

Mehmood said that tax starting from Rs1,500 up to Rs10,000 on air tickets was very cruel and no other province has imposed any such tax. He demanded of the government to withdraw all its taxes and the cess.

According to the passed Finance Bill 2015, 16 per cent tax has been imposed on the transport of goods, inter-city carriage of goods, visa processing services, supply of tangible goods, public relation services, chartered accountants, domestic transportation of good by air, debt collection services, sponsorship services, supply chain management and photography studios, besides 16 percent tax on beauty parlors.

A special tax on air traveling with in the country and out of country have also been fixed, which is Rs2,500 per ticket for long routes (journeys exceeding 500 kilometers) and Rs1,500 per ticket within Pakistani territory, while Rs5,000 on every economy class air ticket would be charged and Rs10,000 on every first class, club class or the business class air ticket would be added as new tax.

The government has withdrawn the facility of exemption of the Capital Value Tax (CVT) on the immoveable property valued of one million rupees. The Education Cess (a tax) on clubs is also abolished imposing the Infrastructure Development Cess of 90 percent on the transportation of goods.

Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha claimed that provincial government has not imposed any new tax in the budget and they are in contact with the federal government on the issue of taxes on air tickets, as it was the domain of the provinces now.

She added that the federal government was already collecting these air tickets taxes imposed by the Punjab government resultantly fares of air tickets would not increase. Provincial Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah also moved a resolution against the casualties by loadshedding in Karachi and Interior Sindh.