Finance Minister Dr.Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Wednesday that the Federal Cabinet has approved the Reforms General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill and to be introduced in the National Assembly for approval during the current session.

The Cabinet also approved flood surcharge to be imposed for six months from January 2011 on persons having income more than Rs 300,000.

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired the cabinet meeting.

The coalition partners of the government had already expressed their reservations over the RGST and a hot debate was expected on the RGST issue in the National Assembly.

However, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ministers expressed reservations on the bill.

The decision to take up the RGST in the cabinet meeting and subsequently to introduce it in the National Assembly was taken during the meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) that was chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In the CCI meeting, it was decided that the provincial governments could subsequently present the RGST in their respective provincial assemblies after necessary consultation with the federal government if needed.

Besides, the RGST bill, the cabinet also discussed the issue of availability of sugar in the country focusing on implementing the CCI decision. The available stocks of 3,50,000 metric tonnes of sugar with TCP would be sent in the open market.

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