ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Saturday approved 29 budgetary demands for grants worth Rs167.5 billion pertaining to different ministries, divisions, and departments for the next fiscal year, rejecting all 397 cut motions moved by the opposition to reduce developmental expenditures of various projects and schemes.
Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin moved the demands for grants one-by-one in the House, presided over deputy speaker Qasim Suri, who allowed opposition MPs to argue in favour of their cut motions.
The House approved the demands after the debate with the voice vote that included Rs277 million and Rs2.05 billion to meet expenditures of the Cabinet and Cabinet Division, respectively, during the year ending on June 30, 2022.
The House passed Rs387 million for Emergency Relief and Repatriation, Rs8 billion for the Intelligence Bureau, Rs10.82 billion for Atomic Energy Commission, Rs1.15 billion for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Rs30.72 billion for Naya Pakistan Housing Development Authority, Rs401 million for Prime Minister’s Office (internal), and Rs520 million for Prime Minister Office (public), on account of expenditures.
The House approved demands of grants worth Rs643 million for expenses of National Disaster Management Authority, Rs367 million for Board of Investment, Rs60 million for Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission, Rs1.48 billion for Aviation Division, Rs8.1 billion for Airports’ Security Force, Rs5.5 billion for Establishment Division, and Rs884 million for the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).
The government also got approved demands of grants worth Rs1.168 billion for the National School of Public Policy, Rs635 million Civil Service Academy, Rs144 million for National Security Division, Rs2.16 billion for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Rs250 billion for Benazir Income Support Programme(BISP),and Rs6.51 billion for Pakistan Baitul Maal.
Besides, the National Assembly passed the grants of Rs46.24 billion for development expenditures of the Cabinet Division, Rs348.8 million for Establishment Division, Rs598.91 million for the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Rs7.369 billion for Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Rs27 billion for Capital Outlay on Development of Atomic Energy, and Rs200 million for the Capital Outlay of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
While winding up debate on the cut motions moved by the opposition on demands for grants of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Foreign Minster Shah Mehmood Qureshi said we have adopted a bipartisan approach for foreign policy making of the country.
He said that Pakistan is not isolated and it is engaging European countries, Muslim world and important forces including China, America, and Russia.
He said that the whole world appreciated the role of Pakistan to bring peace in Afghanistan.
He said that the international community termed that Pakistan is part of solution of Afghanistan.
He said that there is no reason to keep Pakistan in the grey list after it has implemented 26 out of 27 action plans of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
He said that it has to be determined whether the FATF is a technical forum or a political one.
He said it also needs to be looked into whether this forum is being used for political purposes.
He said that some powers desire to keep the sword of FATF hanging over Pakistan.
He said that the FATF itself has accepted that Pakistan has implemented 26 out of 27 action plans, whereas, significant progress has been made on the 27th one.
Qureshi made it clear that whatever steps Pakistan took were in its own interests.
He said it is in our interest to stop money laundering and terror financing.
He said that the international community would listen to Pakistan if it would be economically strong.
The minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue of Kashmir at international forum and exposed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and aggression of Indian military forces and violation of human rights in Occupied Kashmir.
Winding up discussion on the cut motions, adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs, Babar Awan said that the government is strengthening the institutions including those related to national security.
He said that firm action has been taken against corrupt elements, adding recoveries of Rs1,000 billion have been made from different mafias including land mafia.
Earlier, speaking on the cut motions, the opposition members severely criticised the performance of the cabinet, as not a single cut motion moved by any opposition MP was accepted.
The House has also approved five demands for grants pertaining to the Power and Petroleum Divisions for the next fiscal year.
Winding up discussion on the cut motions, Minister of State on Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that we are faced with the issue of capacity payments due to the expensive power plants installed by the previous government.
He said the circular debt currently stands at Rs2.31 trillion. He said that 17 licenses have been issued for oil and gas exploration and about 39 discoveries have been made so far.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021