National Assembly has passed Finance Bill 2014-15 worth of Rs 39.45 trillion. All eight amendments proposed by opposition in the bill were rejected. The amendments proposed by Finance Minister in bill were approved by the house. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has thanked the house over the passage of finance bill. He said the foreign reserves of country have reached at $14.2 billion.
Ishaq Dar congratulated Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah and other parliamentarians over the passage of the finance bill. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also attended the session.
After the passage of the bill, the Finance Minister congratulated the National Assembly, Senate and the people of Pakistan on passage of the Bill. He thanked all the parties particularly the leader of the opposition Syed Khursheed Shah for extending support in passage of the Bill.
He said productive discussion was held on the budget and we adopted several proposals given by the Senate and the members of the National Assembly.
Giving good news on the occasion, the Finance Minister said Pakistan’s reserves have now reached 14.2 billion dollars.
The house will now take up supplementary demands for grants and appropriations for the year 2013-14.
Earlier replying to points raised by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Dr. Azra Fazal, the Finance Ministr said the appointments in different departments are being made on merit according to the law and rules.
He said the Prime Minister has already said that the load-shedding will end during the tenure of the government.
He said a campaign has been launched against the theft of electricity and gas and as a result there is decrease in the theft by 1.5 per cent. He said it is the effort of the government to bring the line losses of electricity from 16 percent to eight percent.
The Finance Minister said the major focus of the budget is on the people living below the poverty line.
With a total outlay of 3945 billion rupees, the federal budget for next fiscal year envisages several initiatives to push up growth rate and investment besides relief measures for the common man.
Ten percent ad hoc relief has been announced for the salaried class and minimum wage has been increased to 12,000 rupees. Pensioners have been given a raise of ten percent while minimum pension has been increased to 6000 rupees.
Increasing the financial assistance for the deserving families to fifteen hundred rupees per month under the Benazir Income Support Program and announcement for launch of low cost housing units are some of the other relief measures announced in the budget 2014-15. Special measures have also been announced for the agriculture sector.
Ishaq Dar said that load shedding would come to an end within three to four years with the addition 11,000 megawatts (MW) in the national grid.
In response to a question raised by the opposition regarding the budget in the National Assembly, he said the country is currently enduring its “peak power shortfall” of 4,500 MW.
The government had taken effective steps to reduce line losses from 16 per cent to a respectable level, he added.
He said that a massive campaign has been launched to reduce gas and power theft.
Refuting the allegations that the Nandipur power generation project had stopped generating power, the minister said the 100 MW power plant is functional.
Dar said that provinces would be given Rs300 million more from federal divisible pool during the next financial year.
Provinces were getting Rs200 billion more in the current year than the previous year, he added.
He said a transparent procedure has been adopted for new appointments in government departments and nepotism had been made impossible.
Rejecting allegations against the laptop scheme, he said the country’s youth had been connected to the world’s leading libraries through 3G and 4G technology,
The minister said that a sum of Rs118 billion had been allocated for the underprivileged under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), adding that 5.3 million families were benefiting from the scheme as compared to 4.1 million families during the era of Pakistan Peoples Party.
Crude oil production had been increased from 72,000 barrels to over 100,000 barrels within a period of one year, he added.
Dar said that government had paid a subsidy of Rs21 billion to keep oil prices at a minimum level. The minister said that work on the Metro Bus Service Project had been initiated with approval of Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC).