ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly session was adjourned on Friday without voting on the finance bill after a brief debate on the budget proposals.
Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf chaired the session, during which lawmakers criticised the government for increasing the burden on the poor by hiking taxes.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had presented the bill in both houses of parliament on Wednesday as the government rushed to fulfil the IMF’s conditions for the release of a desperately needed bailout.
Dar, while speaking to reporters after the session, said that he expects the bill to be passed in both houses by Monday or Tuesday as Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has “given us till Friday”.
Pakistan is in dire need of funds as it battles a wrenching economic crisis as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)-held foreign exchange reserves barely cover one month of imports.
While participating in the budget debate today, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) lawmaker Qadir Khan Mandokhail urged the government to lessen the burden on the poor, saying that they should be taken care of.
Talking about the money bill, Mandokhail questioned the finance minister about whether taxes have been imposed on luxury bungalows. He said that social media apps WhatsApp and Twitter should also be taxed.