ISLAMABAD - Major opposition parties on Thursday blamed the government for not fulfilling its decision taken in APC on China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), as allocated funds for the western corridor were not mentioned in the PSDP for next financial year 2015-2016.

The senators of PPP, PTI and other parties during Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue said that government deliberately not allocated funds for the western corridor of the CPEC. They said that All Parties Conference (APC) held on May 28, 2015 under the chair of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced that the western route of the economic corridor would be constructed first, for which funds will be released soon.

However, government allocated more funds for the eastern corridor compared to Western in PSDP for the next fiscal year, negating the decision of APC, the senators blamed. The PTI has stated in its budgetary demands that government has allocated Rs 126 billion for the eastern corridor project including Lahore Abdul Hakeem Rs 20 billion, Multan -Sukkur Rs 15.25 billion, Sukkur - Hyderabad Rs 5.5 billion and Karachi - Lahore Motorway Rs 51 billion projects. Meanwhile for the western corridor a sum of Rs 39.5 billion has been announced in the budget speech whereas the allocation for western corridor in the PSDP is not reflected.

The PTI recommend that decision taken in the APC should be reflected in letter and spirit in the PSDP allocation and measures should be taken to allocate required finances for the western corridor. Senator Farhatullah Babar of PPP said that decision of allocating more funds for eastern corridor was a political fudging, as it was not a bureaucratic decision. Babar further said, “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is interested in sabotaging the CPEC and we are falling into the trap by making the project controversial.”

The senators demanded of the government to give detailed briefing on the funds allocated for the eastern and western corridors of CPEC in the PSDP 2015-2016.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on the third consecutive day prepared proposals for the Finance Bill 2015. Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tariq Bajwa informed the committee that government had enhanced the sales tax on textile sector to 3-5 percent in the budget from 2-5 percent in order to stop the mis-declarations on imports of textile sector. He further informed the committee that government revised the sales tax on yarn to 3 percent from two percent. However, rates on fabrics and garments would remain unchanged at 3 and 5 percent.

The Senate committee recommended the National Assembly that PIA, Wapda, Pepco, Pakistan Steel, Pakistan Railways and other SOEs might be re-structured and operated under public private partnership strictly by professionals appointed on merit. The committee also recommended that the federal government might stop forthwith loadshedding of gas and electricity for industrial units.

The committee also proposed that the government should promote micro financing and venture financing. It also asked the government to promote establishment of small and medium enterprises and patronize domestic and agro based industry in the country. The Senate committee also recommended the National Assembly that trade deficit might be reduced by increasing exports and decreasing import of luxury items so that import bill could be reduced at the maximum.

The committee also proposed that all discretionary powers and funds for everyone to whom government was paying from the national kitty might be audited. The Senate committee suggested to the National Assembly that for the social welfare of all minorities in Pakistan sufficient allocation of funds should be allocated.