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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has recorded tax collection of Rs 4.1 trillion so far, while it is expected to achieve the revenue collection target of Rs 4.7 trillion in the outgoing financial year 2020-21, Senator Mohsin Aziz from the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) informed the Senate Wednesday.

He was speaking at the Senate sitting presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

Aziz said the country’s tax machinery has taken effective steps to ensure the tax collection of Rs 4.1 billion and steps are being taken to achieve the tax collection target of Rs 4.7 trillion in outgoing FY 2020-21.

The senator said the federal government will not withdraw or reduce taxes on imported items used by the country’s elite. “Sorry— we will not do that. We will not let that happen—withdrawing or even reducing the tax on imported items is just not possible. Prime Minister Imran Khan needs money—his government needs money—to run social safety initiatives like Kamyab Jawan and Ehsaas Programme—we would collect revenue from those who need to be taxed and spend it on the welfare of common man,” he said.

The senator said Pakistan’s exports recorded a mega boom and crossed Rs 25 billion despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. The country’s remittances exceeded Rs 26 billion and foreign exchange reserves held by State Bank of Pakistan crossed the $ 23 billion mark, he said.

“Pakistan Stock Exchange is rated as the fourth most progressive stock market worldwide and number one in Asia—The Current Account Deficit was $ 19 billion when we came into power and it is now recorded in surplus of $ 800 million. From each and every angle, Pakistan’s economy is booming,” he said.

Taking a jibe at opposition, Mohsin Aziz said the government 3.94 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate projection has been recognized by international financial institutions. “But you (opposition) would keep living in denial mode—as part of your hopeless efforts to undermine the achievements of this government,” he remarked.

Taking the floor, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani demanded an in-camera session of the Parliament to discuss the United States planned troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He said the terrorist attack in Johar Town Lahore pinpointed towards a new wave of terrorism in Pakistan. “This is a cause of concern for all of us. It needs to be ensured that volatile situation in Afghanistan must not have a fallout on Pakistan,” he said.

Walid Iqbal from PTI narrated an article written by renowned economist Ashfaque Hasan Khan implying that PML-N was responsible for Pakistan’s economic debacle. “We had to take drastic measure to revive and uplift economy when we came into power,” he said.

Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentary Leader in Senate Sherry Rehman expressed concern over Johar Town terrorist attack in Lahore.

“There has been an alarming resurgence of terrorist activities on our soil. We need to ensure that Pakistan must not bear the brunt of the situation in Afghanistan. There is a looming storm in Afghanistan. The Americans are winding up and closing their forward operating bases after 20 years. God forbid, it could be like civil war situation in post-US troops withdrawal period. How will we protect ourselves?” she said.

Aon Abbas Buppi from PTI spoke of the economic achievements of the present government. He said that the focus of the PTI government under the leadership of PM Khan is to uplift the socioeconomic conditions of the downtrodden segments of the society that were neglected the most in the past. A host of remarkable initiatives have been launched for this purpose coupled with the allocation of hefty budget, he said.

Sajid Mir from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) said recent legislation on domestic violence and senior citizens should be in accordance with Islamic junctions. Public debt, non-developmental administrative expenditure and defence expenditure are three main challenges to federal budget, he said.

Faisal Javed from PTI said the present government brought PTI on the right economic track. “Where the country’s economy was in 2018 and where it is now—that’s poles apart. All institutions were destroyed by the time we came into power. The economy was facing a loss of $ 20 billion. This government put the economy back on right track. The labourers that were regarded as most neglected segment of the society have been treated like VVIPs by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government—that has set up Panagahs and Langarkhanas for them,” he said.

The House would meet again Thursday.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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