Senators demand broader economic dialogue, people’s centric approach in Finance Bill, 2024


The Senators on Friday demanded the government and the opposition to initiate broader economic dialogue and embrace people’s centric approach to provide relief to the masses battered by economic crunch and inflation in the Budget 2024-25.
The members of the Upper House of the Parliament were presenting recommendations to the National Assembly on the Finance Bill, 2024.
The session commenced 22 minutes late from the scheduled time with the verses of the Holy Quran’s Surah Al-Furqan that detailed the characteristics of the virtuous and the followers of Rehman (The Almighty Allah) who walk politely on the earth and bear the best virtues of starting conversation with Salam (Salutation), seekers of the Almighty’s forgiveness from the Hell and are not extravagant nor thrifty but maintain balance in their spending.
Deputy Chairman Senate Syedaal Khan Nasar while initiating the House business allowed Senator Poonjo Bheel to raise a matter of importance.

Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Senator Poonjo Bheel urged the House to allocate some time to pay tribute to former prime minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on her birthday.

Deputy Chairman, Sedaal Khan Nasar on behalf of the House paid tribute to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on her 71st birth anniversary and directed Senator Sagid Mir to hold fateha for the departed soul.
Senator Bilal Ahmed Khan of PPPP also paid tribute to his leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He hoped that the government would consider the recommendations of the House on the Finance Bill, 2024 to provide relief to the masses.
“The current budget of Rs18 trillion was tabled before the House whereas the government had established its stance that the people did not pay taxes,” he informed.
“One and a half decade back the taxes collection was Rs1500 billion that improved over the time but the tax net was not enhanced and the already taxed were further burdened by every successive government,” Khan said.

Senator, Muhammad Qasim of Balochistan National Party said it was a very heavy budget that was beyond Rs18 trillion that only included Rs 1400 billion development budget.

He alleged that there was no rational approach in the political history of the country.
He urged the government to pay heed to the industrial sector and the factory owners who were leaving the country due to poor economic policies and fiscal constraint.
Senator, Amir Waliuddin Chishti of Muthahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said the budget was not favourable for the masses as it was going to further burden the people due to the system’s criminal negligence in economic affairs.
A healthy and educated society could only lead the country but this time health and education sectors were also taxed including every stationery item and medicines whereas the middle class was also impacted in the prevailing economic turmoil and rising inflation, he added.
“Salaried class has been taxed every time, whereas the Finance Bill, 2024 when compared to the neighbouring countries revealed that the country’s inflation is in double digit but that of India, Bangladesh and others is in single digit. Our foreign exchange reserves are of $1.9 billion whereas Bangladesh has $24 billion exports and over $14 billion reserves,” Senator Chishti said.
Pakistan’s growth rate, he said was 2.4% and that of Bangladesh was 5.8% due to lack of policy consistency in the country.
Senator, Nadeem Bhutto of PPPP said the budget tabled was beyond Rs18 trillion that demanded a charter of economy to bring nation out of economic crunch, whereas there were good recommendations from the opposition and treasury benches.
Senator Samina Mumtaz Zehri of Balochitan Awami Party demanded the government renegotiate the new agreements with the independent power producers (IPPs) to reduce the growing burden of capacity payments on the masses.