ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar presentedthird finance bill for the current fiscal year during the National Assembly session on Wednesday.

Umar began by stating that this was not a mini-budget being presented but rather a set of economic reforms.

The finance minister asked what the opposition had left behind for the people of Pakistan. Two years ago an economic situation began to develop when all economic experts started to say that danger bells are ringing. But instead, those in power did not pay heed, they thought the people were ignorant, and instead they conspired to buy an election.

Umar added that the deficit grew to Rs900 billion, asking who this gap would be filled. Where will this gap be filled what? Will that come from their Swiss accounts? No. That money is filled with money paid by the citizens.

Salient features of Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill of 2019

. Tax on income from loans to SME sector to be reduced to 20%

. Agricultural tax will be dropped to 20 per cent.

. To provide low-income housing, loans will be decreased to 20 per cent. Rs5 billion revolving fund will be introduced.

. Withholding tax for filers on banking transactions will be eliminated to encourage the culture of paying taxes.

. Non-fillers will be able to purchase small and mid-size cars up to 1300CC, but the tax would be increased.

. Tax has been decreased to Rs5000 for small wedding halls up to 500 square feet.

. Import on duty for newsprint will be eliminated.

. Special economic zones have been formed keeping in mind the interest of CPEC.

. Duty on news print abolished completely.

Responding to the points of Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif on the Sahiwal incident, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that a transparent inquiry was conducted into the tragic Sahiwal incident through a joint investigation team.

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