Former Finance Minister and current Chairman of National Assembly’s Standing committee for Finance, Asad Umer shared his thoughts on the latest budget for the that 2019-20.
He expressed his reservations on some of the areas of the budget and asked the government to reconsider their stance on them. He said, “Tax on sugar has been raised. Prices of sugar have already risen at an alarming rate, and I think this should also be investigated, why sugar prices are rising so quickly. This tax is not appropriate; I think this should be withdrawn. And I believe it should also be investigated why sugar prices are rising at such a rate,”
He also suggested revising the increased tax on oil/ghee and the increased duty on cars below 1000cc. He argued that the tax increment on cars above 1000cc is justified, but the government should review the increment for smaller cars to support the middle class. He also commented that pensions for EOBI should be increased from 10% to 15% and laborers should also be covered under this head. He is of the view that the mentioned revisions are directly associated with the middle and lower classes of the country which is already going through a tough time.
Apart from the budget, he acknowledged the earlier explanation of the Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir regarding the exchange rate policy. Gov. SBP held a press conference in which he said that the SBP is using market-based exchange rate policy and not the free-floating exchange rate policy. In the conference, he expressed his satisfaction over the economic growth of the country and believed that anticipated financial arrangements would balance out the circumstances, which will prompt higher and comprehensive development, at last passing the advantages to center and lower classes.