Senators vow not to fuel ‘corruption furnace’ with taxpayers’ money | Pakistan Today

Senators vow not to fuel ‘corruption furnace’ with taxpayers’ money

ISLAMABAD: Senators from across the political divide on Thursday vowed not to fuel the “corruption furnace” of a non-performing government with the taxpayers’ money, asking Islamabad to first put its own house in order before taxing the poverty-stricken people.
Taking part in the debate on the General Sales Tax (GST) Bill, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Senator SM Zafar said tales of the corrupt practices of rulers were being told across the globe.
“Why should the people throw their hard-earned money into the furnace of a corrupt and non-performing government? And if the government does not perform, there should be no taxation,” he said.
Terming the GST Bill a new law rather than an amendment, he said this bill would replace the GST Act of 1990. Zafar was of the view that 700 new items would be taxed through the new bill that were exempted in the GST act.
He asked the government to withdraw the bill, as it would put unjustified burden on the poverty-stricken people of the country. “No performance, no taxation, and no taxation to cover up financial losses inflicted through corruption,” Zafar said concluding his speech.
PML-Q Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan, meanwhile, took the House into confidence over the proceedings of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, saying that the committee had argued the rationale for the GST Bill in their interaction with the finance minister. He said the minister was in favour of an agriculture tax but he lacked support, as the landlords were a powerful lobby. “However, no senator extended support over the agriculture tax issue and thus the matter could not be included into the bill,” Haroon said.
A company had provided figures according to which, the prices of 34 items would increase by 37 percent while prices of 14 items would increase by seven to 15 percent after the passage of the GST Bill. This would increase inflation by 13 to 15 percent as per the figures quoted by the Consumer Price Index, he said. PML-Nawaz Senator Ishaq Dar said that due to ‘leakages’ in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), over Rs 400 billion were being lost every year while state institutions like the Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways and others were also eating up Rs 300 billion annually.
Dar said the government could collect a huge amount by recovering written-off loans, adding that the reformed GST would enable the government to collect only Rs 60 billion. Muttahida Qaumi Movement senator Haseeb Khan lashed out at the government for not putting its own house in order, saying that his party had taken a principled stand over the GST and would oppose every such move which increased burden on the poor segments of society. “The MQ



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