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Govt to present ‘mini budget’ in NA today

ISLAMABAD: After the approval from the federal cabinet, government is all set to present its first ‘mini budget’ Tuesday (today) in the National Assembly.

According to sources, it is expected that new taxes, including super tax, worth Rs 158 billion will be imposed in the new finance bill. The bill includes the recommendations to slash development budget by Rs 450 billion, sources said.

“The amendments in Finance Act 2018 should bring down the budget deficit from 6.6 per cent to 5 per cent,” the sources informed.

In order to decrease the budget deficit, it was required that expenditure is minimized from Rs 608 billion and for that reason new taxes are being levied while development budget is curtailed, sources further explained.

The budget is likely to include proposals to lower the income tax exemption slab. The exemption limit will likely be brought down to Rs 0.8 million per year from the existing Rs 1.2 million per year, sources said.

The move being termed by experts as a setback for the salaried class.

Further, the tax exemption slab for other incomes will also be changed accordingly.

Last week, Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government was not increasing any tax on the salaried class as some media reports suggest.

Fawad stated that there has been no change in the taxes ratio for the salaries class.

Detailing about excessive expenditures on the mega projects, following a cabinet meeting in Islamabad, the minister said Lahore metro bus project was being run with an annual subsidy of Rs 4.20 billion and Multan metro bus project was getting Rs 2.1 billion annual subsidy from the government.

The multi-billion rupee metro bus projects were launched by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government countrywide except, Peshawar where PTI had its government.

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