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Key proposals of the ‘mini-budget’

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As the government seeks to fulfil the prerequisites for unlocking the $1.1 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan tranche, Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar has introduced the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 or the “mini-budget” in the National Assembly and Senate on Wednesday.

The government last night ratified the increase in the general sales tax (GST) rate from 17% to 18% and increased the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes in order to fetch an additional Rs115 billion out of Rs170 billion agreed to by Pakistan in line with the IMF conditions.

Through the “mini-budget”, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government aims to reduce the budget deficit and broaden its tax collection net — in order to meet the conditions laid forth by the Washington-based lender.

Talking to reporters after the session on Wednesday, FinMin Dar said that he expects the bill to be passed in both houses by Monday or Tuesday as Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has “given us till Friday”.

Key proposals

1. Increase in GST on luxury items from 17% to 25%

2. Federal Excise Duty (FED) on business and first-class air tickets be increased to Rs20,000 or 50% — whichever is higher

3. 10% withholding adjustable advance income tax to be imposed on marriage halls

4. Increase in FED on cigarettes, soft and sugary drinks

5. FED on cement to be raised from Rs1.5 kg to Rs2 kg

6. Increase in GST from standard 17% to 18%

7. GST to not be imposed on essential goods — wheat, rice, milk, pulses, vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs, meat

8. BISP stipend to be increased; govt to allocate Rs400 billion for programme

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52 districts in Pakistan have 52 cases of the polio virus.

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Nine kids have also contracted the debilitating illness in the first seven months of the infection.

Environment samples from Dadu, Hyderabad, Karachi South, Karachi Central, Karachi West, Quetta, Loralai, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad, according to a polio program official, found WPV1.

With 52 regions having reported cases of the virus this year, the official confirmed.

In order for parents nationwide to take the polio vaccination, he said, “it is crucial that they comprehend the ongoing threat that this virus poses to their children’s health and make sure to welcome vaccinators.”

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Federal Cabinet once again postpones decision on PTI suspension and Article 6 action against Imran and Alvi

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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ban decision was postponed by the federal cabinet on Wednesday once more.

Announcing this to the attendees of the meeting was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Here in the Prime Minister’s Office, the cabinet finally convened after being postponed twice. Article 6 proceedings against PTI founder Imran Khan, former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri, and former president Dr. Arif Alvi could not be decided upon at the meeting.

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Plant For Pakistan: Take A Footstep To Bring Back Takht Padi Forest

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The Punjab government, in association with the Defense Housing Authority of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, will begin a cooperative initiative to restore the Takht Padi Forest on July 27.

Drive’s objectives include freeing the property from mafia control and eliminating encroachments.

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