LAHORE: While the opposition benches tried to halt house proceedings by pointing to the lack of quorum, the Punjab Assembly speaker did not entertain their resolution against heavy taxes included in the regulatory duty which was introduced by the government.
The legislators of the opposition benches said the regulatory duty was an extra burden on the poor masses. The opposition stuck to its demand to take up their resolution ‘out of turn’, while Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment Sheikh Allauddin was also adamant to start a debate over the issue so the house could be informed over how the duty was imposed.
Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal suggested the opposition start a debate over the regulatory duty rather than putting up a resolution. He pointed out that a resolution could not be taken out of turn without the suspension of rules.
Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said MPAs condemned the regulatory duty, adding the lives of the masses had been affected by such taxes. He said the government presented what he called a ‘mini budget’ with the new levies.
However, the speaker fixed a one-hour debate for the regulatory duty issue in Thursday’s session (today) to satisfy the house.
He said it was the demand of the house from the federal government that regulatory duty be withdrawn immediately. He said the federal government imposed taxes from 5% to 80% on daily use articles in the name of regulatory duty without considering the fact that the poor masses were already suffering from the skyrocketing prices of onion, tomato and potatoes for the past several months.
Rasheed said the poor were being targeted through what he termed the failed economic policies of Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Expressing his views, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar said the regulatory duty was tantamount to overburdening the poor masses with taxes to the tune of Rs25billion overall. Legislator Muhammad Arif Abbasi pointed to the quorum, however, the treasury benches succeeded in showing the required number in the house.
It was the second consecutive day in the house when PTI legislator Asif Mehmood raised strong reservations over the conduct of a rival contestant who had lost to him in the 2013 General Election. He said the losing candidate was still pretending to be the MPA of the constituency.
He expressed strong reservation that his repute was being damaged by the former legislator, who was posing as a member of the house despite losing the election.
The speaker assured him that a report on the matter would be submitted by Monday.
Meanwhile, PML-N legislator Dr Nadia Aziz brought the issue of the examinations of Sargodha board students to the notice of the house. She pointed out that the results were altogether disappointing compared to expectations.
Another PML-N legislator Mian Tahir Pervez also criticised Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah after nothing was done on his privilege motion.
However, legislators of both treasury and opposition benches, were seen united over the issue of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat and demanded exemplary punishment to those who were responsible for recent amendments.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2017.
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Source: Tribune News | ‘Mini budget’: Opposition slams govt over regulatory duty