Govt to pay staff 10% higher salaries, pensions in 2018-19

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The ruling PML-N has presented a Rs5.2 trillion budget that only a government heading into elections would: with sexy funding that it hopes will nudge voters in the right direction. The budget is Rs5,246 billion or Rs5.2 trillion. Mr Ismail presented the budgetary proposals.The federal gross revenue receipts are estimated at Rs5661 billion as compared to Rs4992 billion in the outgoing year.This includes the FBR’s tax estimates of Rs4435 billion.Out of total revenues, the provincial government shares are estimated at Rs2590 billion, as compared to last year’s Rs.2316b.After funds are transferred to the provincial governments, the net revenue of the federal government is estimated at Rs3070 billion.The defense budget is proposed at Rs1100 billion against Rs999 billion of last year.The budget deficit will be 4.9% of GDP as opposed to 5.5% from last year’s estimates. The Finance Minister announced 10% adhoc relief allowance to the civil and armed forces employees and 10% increase in pensions across the board.House rent ceiling and house rent allowance have also been increased by 50% percent each.Minimum pension is being increased from the existing Rs.6000 to Rs.10,000.Similarly, family pension would also increase from Rs.4500 to Rs.7500. Minimum pension of pensioners above 75 years of age would be Rs.15,000. The government has also proposed an allocation of Rs.12 billion for provision of advances to government servants for house building and purchase of transport facility.It has also set aside Rs.5b for senior officers’ performance allowance, details of which would be announced separately.Over-time allowance of staff car drivers and dispatch riders is being increased from Rs.40 per hour to Rs.80. Allocation for Benazir Income Support Program has been increased to Rs.124.7 billion as against Rs.121b of outgoing year.The Minister said government has launched a national poverty graduation program for BISP beneficiaries with more than Rs.9.5b.The scheme will enable BISP beneficiaries to start their own businesses with a one-time cash grant of Rs.50,000.Miftah Ismail said that 688 million rupees are being allocated for Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.
The Finance Minister said due to enhancement of taxable limit of income to Rs.1.2b, the number of tax filers will be substantially reduced leading to loss of revenue.He said a nominal income tax of 1000 would be imposed for income between Rs.04m to Rs.08m, and Rs.0.2m for income between Rs.08m to Rs.0.2m.Finance Minister said the government has decided to reduce corporate tax rates from 30% in tax year 2018 to Rs.25% in tax year 2023 The corporate tax rate would be 29% in 2019 and will be reduced by one percent each year up to 2023.To increase cost of business for non-filers, more tax has been proposed. Miftah Ismail said withholding tax rates on sales of goods for non-filers would be increased from existing 7% to 8%.Tax has been increased from the existing 2 to 3 percent to discourage undocumented economy.Federal excise duty on locally produced cigarettes is proposed to be enhanced.He said 10% import duty has been proposed on CKD kits for domestically produced electric cars.Opposition parties boycotted the National Assembly session when the budget proposals were put forward or tabled for the next year 2018-19. Their objection was that since this government is wrapping up, it is doesn’ty have the authority to decide how much the next government should spend The outgoing government has set a revenue target of Rs.5661b, earmarked Rs1100b for defence, and raised the salaries and pensions of government employees 10%.The government said it would lower some taxes, increase government staff salaries and pensions and has made medicines and medical machinery cheaper.As the session begun, PPP’s Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah addressed the house, protesting the government’s move. “The government has no mandate to present budget for one year,” Shah said. “Nawaz Sharif is calling for sanctity of the vote, but the government is dishonouring it. Has the government honoured parliamentarians today?”PTI vice present Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the budget is being presented by someone who was not even a member of parliament. He urged the government to present a budget for four months only, instead of one year.“How is the government presenting a one-year budget which has not even been approved by the National Economic Council?” he said. Qureshi said Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal should have presented the budget and not Miftah Ismail. Mr Ismail had taken oath as a minister mere hours before he stood behind the microphone.