Sustainable Development Policy Institute with the support of Heinrich Boll Stiftung organized one day seminar on “National Consultation on Budget 2014-15 at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad on 17th of June, 2014 where more than Two hundred people including federal minister of commerce, MNAs, media, researchers, academics, civil society, students, government officials, and representatives of different political parties attended this event.
First session was on “Taxation Reforms in Budget 2014-15. Dr. Vaqar Ahmed welcomed to the participants and gave comparisons of last year’s budget with current budget while speaking on the topic. Dr. Abid Suleri presented key highlights of study which they have conducted in 32 districts across the country. This session was chaired by Khurram Dastgir, Federal Minister for Commerce who said that taxation plays very important role to mobilize internal movement of transactions, however, the government is trying to get rid of further taxes. Main panelists of this session Saeed Gani from Pakistan People’s Party said that reservation over the borrowed money will persuade raise in the value of rupee. Rehan Hashmi, MNA from MQM talked about the shadow budget which they are producing for last 3 years. Karachi produces 70% of revenue but only elite class is getting benefit and in this budge we don’t see taxes on land lords, he added. Shaban Khalid, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries stressed that business community thinks that goals set government are unrealistic and it is increasing load of taxes on existing tax system. Current budget does not focus on industrial sector. Umer Cheema, Center for Investigative Reporting said that most of the MNAs and lawmakers don’t have their NTN (National taxation Number) which indicates that they don’t pay their taxes.
In second session was titled: “Expenditure Priorities and Debt Management under Budget 2014-15”. Panelists included Asad Umer, MNA, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Dr. Abid Suleri, Sakib Sherani, Chief Executive at Macro Economic Insight (Pvt) Ltd, Sania Nishtar, Founder and President-Heartfile, Alya Majid, Chief Executive of CAMCO (Pvt) Ltd and Ali Salman, Executive Director of PRIME. They discussed about the current state of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), land reforms, taxes on agriculture and burden on common men.
At the end Dr. Abid Suleri summed up the session and emphasized that finance budget and finance bill should be separated. There is no relief for poor people in the current budget who bear the burden of indirect taxes, he added.