Finance Bill 2018-19 passed in National Assembly


The National Assembly has passed the Finance Bill 2018-19 giving legal cover to the budgetary proposals for the next financial year.

The National Assembly has accepted the Rs5.2 trillion amended bill. A number of proposals given by members during the debate on the budget and recommendations of the Senate have been incorporated either fully or partially but the basic structure of the budget remains as announced by Finance Minister on April 27.

The new budget, which is for a full year, envisages incentives and relief for industry, agriculture and different segments of the society.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail remarked that as per the bill people who have dollar accounts must be tax filers. “Non-tax filers cannot keep dollar accounts,” he explained.

There is no restriction on overseas Pakistanis sending remittance to the country. However, overseas Pakistanis who send more than USD0.1 million their source of funding will be questioned, he said.”People who are sending money must declare their source of income.”

If Foreign Board of Revenue receives more than Rs10 million remittances then it will be probed, Miftah added.

He remarked that specific welfare organisations have been given tax exemption. Responding to this, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Dr Azra Pechuho asked why haven’t all welfare organisations been given tax exemption. Ismail explained that FBR has the right to decide which welfare organisation it wants to give exemption to.

On Thursday, the opposition had rejected the tax amnesty scheme government had announced in the budget 2018-19.

Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah even termed the scheme as a “move to help the rich and continue suppression of the poor”. Shah also questioned why taxpayers are being punished as they haven’t been given any relief in the budget.

Moreover, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Shireen Mazari had reiterated her party’s stance on the budget. She remarked that the incumbent government should not have given the budget for the whole financial year.

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