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ISLAMABAD: The recommendations made by the Senate on Finance Bill, 2023-24 were presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday proposing concrete measures to improve the national economy, strengthen key financial sectors, and provide maximum relief to the common man.

Resuming debate on the Federal Budget 2023-24 and the Senate recommendations, Dr Sobia Soomro of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that there is a need to take concrete measures to improve a fragile economy left behind by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Despite the fact the country’s economy is trapped in a vicious loop, she insisted the government effectively tackled all the economic challenges and put the country on a path of macroeconomic stability with collective wisdom.

Finance bill 2023: recommendations finalised by Senate panel

She also claimed that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was in the doldrums when the PTI was in power, and it was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who restarted the billions dollar project shortly after coming into power.

Commenting on the Senate budget recommendations, she suggested increasing sales tax on sugary-energy drinks and tobacco products in order to generate revenue that could be utilised in health and education sectors besides controlling the increasing population.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) proposed ensuring an interest-free economic system in the country in line with Islamic laws, terming the Senate recommendation in this regard insufficient.

He agreed with the suggestions made by the Senate about the availability of daily use items in the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets at subsidized rates and the allocation of a regular budget for producing quality manpower in the health sector including doctors and pharmacists aimed at stopping the brain-drain. He was of the view to establish medical colleges at the district level across the country to accommodate the maximum number of students, who wanted to join this noble profession and serve the ailing humanity.

Similarly, he agreed with the recommendation of the Senate about tax exemption on the import of sports goods, which were not being produced locally, as it would help create a healthy society and keep the younger generation away from social evils, especially drug-addiction.

Shaista Pervaiz Malik of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) said that a pro-investment policy needs to be pursued to take the economy on an upward trajectory.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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