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Print Print 2024-06-22

Govt assailed for further taxing the salaried class

  • Lawmakers say imposition of such heavy taxes may lead to an acceleration of brain drain from the country
Published June 22, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers including allied political parties on Friday lambasted the government for imposing more taxes on salaried class and facilitating the holy cows – especially the real estate and agriculture sectors – through subsidies and exemptions.

Taking part in the budget debate in the National Assembly, they said that the imposition of such heavy taxes on the salaried class is simply irrational, which may lead to an acceleration of brain drain from the country.

They called for drastic changes – through incorporating the budgetary proposals from the MPs – in the federal budget to give more relief to the masses and bringing the holy cows under the tax net, as this is the time to tighten the noose around the tax evaders.

Salaried group: calculate your income tax for FY24 here

Taking part in the debate, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Dr Farooq Sattar stressed the need to do away with the continuity of traditional budgeting and proposed to make the budget pro-people and pro-business for sustainable growth.

There should be a difference between an overtaxed or wrongly-taxed budget and a growth-oriented budget, he said, adding the exorbitantly higher prices of electricity, gas, potable water and petroleum are the fundamental issues of the common people, which need to be addressed on a priority basis.

Through the Finance Bill 2024-25, the tax rate for salaried individuals earning between Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 per month has been doubled.

“The proposed increase would see the tax rate go up from 2.5 per cent to 5pc on all income earned above Rs50,000 in this bracket,” he lamented.

Salaried class: Higher income tax rate of up to 35pc imposed

He said that the agricultural income of feudal lords and big landlords should be brought under the tax net without any further delay instead of overburdening the salaried class with more taxes.

Sattar termed the budget for 2024-25 as traditional, reflecting continuity of policies for the last 77 years, adding there are countries in the world where there are no taxes at all, but it is Pakistan where the traditional budget with heavy taxation on the poor has become a norm.

“The country’s current debt servicing issues […] most budget allocations are used for this purpose. We need to get rid of what we’re doing through traditional budget for the last over seven decades,” he added.

He continued that it is the responsibility of the government to prepare the budget by keeping the interests of the masses in mind, but it is unfortunate to note that every budget is meant to facilitate a handful of elite.

He called for relief measures for the poor in the budget and asked the government to revise the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

He stressed the need to resolve Karachi’s water issues and to allocate more funds to improve the city’s drain system. He also advocated for more incentives to attract foreign direct investment and for policies that encourage a growth-oriented economy.

Rana Atif of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed Sunni Ittehad Council called upon the government not to give a step-motherly treatment to his party’s lawmakers.

He called upon the government to resolve the issue of IPP capacity payments and to take steps to further enhance the country’s imports.

Asia Naz Tanoli of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the poor segment of the society must not be ignored, adding the budget should be people-friendly.

She said that the PML-N solved the longstanding issue of load-shedding in the country when it came to power in 2013, adding more funds were allocated for development projects all over the country.

She claimed that the PML-N government had a history of saving the country from bankruptcy and sacrificing its politics for the betterment of the masses.

Omer Farooq of PTI-backed SIC said that rampant corruption is the root cause of all the ills in the country, adding PTI’s motto to eradicate the menace of corruption is the only solution to put the country on the path to prosperity.

He stressed the need for more relief to the agricultural, industrial, and information technology sectors, saying these sectors would create more job opportunities for the people.

Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz of PML-N said that better travel, education and health facilities should be provided to the residents of the federal capital.

He proposed to withdraw capital gain tax on the real estate business in Islamabad.

Another PML-N MP Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti said that all the politicians should get united to steer the country out of prevalent political and economic crises confronting the country.

Sajid Khan of PTI-backed SIC proposed to open all 12 routes with Afghanistan to boost trade between the two countries.

He said the unnecessary taxes imposed on merged districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – either by the federal or the provincial government – should be withdrawn immediately to end the sense of deprivation among the people of the region.

Shahram Khan Tarakai of PTI-backed SIC suggested that the enhanced sales tax on pharmaceuticals should be withdrawn, adding the prices of drugs have already gone up and the new taxes will make things even worse.

Jamal Shah Kakar, Mujahid Ali Khan, Mian Khan Bugti, Shamsher Ali Mazari, Rana Atif, Amjad Ali Khan, Arshad Abdullah Vohra, Muhammad Ahmed Chattha, Anwar Taj, Khurram Shahzad Virk, Usama Ahmed Mela, Shahid Ahmed, Ihsan Ullah Virk, Abdul Latif, Sohail Sultan, and Syed Shah Ahad Ali Shah also took part in the budget debate.

At the onset of the session, the opposition leader in the National Assembly condemned the imposition of Section 144 in Punjab and asked NA deputy speaker Ghulam Mustafa Shah to give a ruling that the ban was a constitutional violation.

The deputy speaker said that it was a “provincial matter” and expressed the hope that it would be sorted out.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Comments

Comments are closed.

Dawood Mustafa Jun 22, 2024 10:23am
Government knows that no matter how much they tax the salaried class they will never protest because they dont have time for this. They are busy day and night earning to fulfill their basic needs.
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Maqbool Jun 22, 2024 11:03am
Late Filing fee is ridiculous as the FBR website can’t handle the existing loan - takes upto 14 days. Space out submissions like : salaries class 30 sept, others income 30 Oct and private co 30 Nov
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KU Jun 22, 2024 12:27pm
George Orwell, we are living it!
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:28pm
Pakistan, we argue, exemplifies the global trend of brain drain as approximately 832,339 Pakistanis went abroad for employment in 2022, which is the highest
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:37pm
The tax burden on salaried employees is effectively managed through automatic deductions at the source, ensuring prompt deposits into the government treasury.
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:38pm
This seamless process underscores the control exercised by influential stakeholders who dominate both the state and major enterprises.
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:46pm
Why is the proposed tax solely targeting salaried individuals? Why not impose it on parliamentarians as well, ensuring they file returns that accurately reflect their income and actual assets?
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:52pm
In the United States, the budget is prepared by comparing the President's financial decisions with those of low-income earners.
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 02:52pm
For instance, the President must buy a bottle of Pepsi from his own pocket, highlighting the personal financial considerations taken into account.
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 03:06pm
Last but not the least, In Pakistan, it seems as though a royal decree mandates that the salaried class is taxed on everything, from electricity and gas bills to drinking water and even in death
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 03:35pm
Last but not the least, IN Pakistan, it seems as though a royal decree mandates that the salaried class is taxed on everything, from electricity and gas bills to drinking water and even in death
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Mumtaz Malik Jun 22, 2024 04:42pm
@Dawood Mustafa, 100% correct analysis & observations.
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Usman Jun 22, 2024 05:21pm
Salaried class should start doing business by pooling resources.join the business class.
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Maqbool Jun 22, 2024 06:43pm
@Mumtaz Malik, why no tax on government pensions over Rs1.2m per year on the same slabs as expected from our citizens?
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