Offshore companies: government accused of forestalling declaration

The government on Tuesday was accused of making an amendment in Income Tax Ordinance through Finance Bill 2016 to forestalling, declaration of offshore companies in Pakistan.

Taking part in the Budget debate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member Asad Umar stated that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has made an amendment in the Income Tax Ordinance and as per that amendment if anyone has made an offshore company, he need not declare it in Pakistan.

Asad Umar said people of the country would lose their faith in Parliament if this amendment is approved.

Criticising the government policies, he said investment has also decreased during this period. He said that the Pakistan Steel Mills is closed for the last eight months. He stressed the need for its revival.

He said the salaries of Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan Machine Tool Factory and Heavy Electric Complex employees had not been paid for the last five months while payments against pensions of PSM employees and their widows had been stopped for the last five years.

He said no country can achieve development without attracting investment and the government’s own document, the Economic Survey, reveals that investment during the present government’s tenure has been even lower than what it was during PPP’s tenure.

He said unemployment is the biggest issue and more than 1.5 million people have lost their jobs during the tenure of the present government.

He said that government’s own figures reveal that only 300MW was added to the installed capacity of power generation in the country during the last two years against an annual demand of 10 percent increase.

PTI legislator accused the government of introducing a slew of new taxes on gas and electricity. The government was also accuse of imposing highest-ever taxes on petroleum products.

He said the Finance Minister has failed to bring rich people into the tax net and is resorting to indirect taxes.

He said taxes should be reduced on electricity and petroleum products to give relief to people. He said the government should launch new housing schemes for government employees to overcome housing shortages.

He demanded an increase in pensions of government employees. He said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a beneficial project and it must be exploited for country’s greatest benefit.

Sheikh Rashid of Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AMLP) said that 4.71 per cent GDP growth rate mentioned in the budget documents is not a real one.

He said that according to independent economists, the growth of GDP is 3.7 percent to 4 percent of GDP.

He said that only 300MW additional electricity was added to the national grid in the last three years of the PML-N government.

He stressed the need for completing a mother and child hospital in Rawalpindi. He underscored the need for speeding up the process of a probe into the Panama leaks.

While lambasting the government, Sahibzada Tariqullah said the government was failed to achieve economic targets.

He said although the government has allocated a Rs 860 billion defence budget it neglected the Foreign Ministry.

He said defence and foreign relations complement each other. He urged the government to revisit country’s foreign policy.

Furthermore, he stressed the need for an early conduct of population census. Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho of PPP said the PML-N government’s 4th budget is high on promises and short on delivery.

She said Agriculture Sector was affected badly due to government policies. She alleged that due to increase in public debt, no sector can show any growth.

PML-N member Awais Khan Leghari said the government has presented a “good budget” and the opposition should also come up with viable recommendations to further improve the document.

He said that all political parties including the PML-N should sit together to devise a long-term Water Policy as Pakistan is fast heading towards becoming a water-deficient country.

Leghari said the economy is improving and the government is doing its best to bring foreign investment to the country and the Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an example of it.

He said the CPEC is a national project and all political parties should own it. Parliamentary Secretary for National Food Security and Resources Rajab Ali Khan Baloch also hailed the government’s economic policies.

He said the government is also focusing on education and health sectors, though they have been devolved to provinces under the eighteenth Constitutional Amendment. -Business Recorder