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Mini-Budget on the Agenda as the NA Session Begins Today – Journal



ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly will begin its new session on Monday (today) with the controversial (supplementary) finance bill, commonly known as the mini-budget, on its agenda as the leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif called a joint opposition meeting in Parliament before the start of the session to develop a strategy to block passage of the bill.

The Secretariat of the National Assembly on Sunday released a 48-point agenda for Monday’s sitting, which also includes a motion to number 39 on behalf of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin calling for the passage of the finance bill. (additional) 2021 which he presented to the Assembly. on December 30 and which was currently under consideration by the Standing Senate Committee on Finance for the preparation of recommendations under section 73 of the Constitution.

Opposition leader calls meeting to try to block passage of finance bill

Article 73 deals with the “procedure relating to banknotes”, which must only be adopted by the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. However, article 73, paragraph 1, specifies: Assembly, copy is transmitted to the Senate which can, within fourteen days, make recommendations on this subject to the National Assembly.

These recommendations are not, however, binding on the National Assembly and the latter can approve a budget bill even without examining it.

Meanwhile, the Senate Secretariat also released the agenda for Monday’s sitting, which included a motion by House Leader Shahzad Waseem calling for the suspension of the rules on Private Members’ Business in order to allow the House to consider and approve the recommendations. on the mini-budget which would then be sent to the National Assembly.

Approval of the Supplementary Finance Bill to Amend Certain Taxes and Tax Laws and the State Bank of Pakistan Bill 2021 (Amendment) is required to ensure that Pakistan’s sixth review of the Expanded Fund facility of $ 6 billion be approved by the International Monetary Fund. (IMF) which is due to meet on January 12 to make a decision on the disbursement of a tranche of approximately $ 1 billion.

Initially, the government had a plan to pass the bill through parliament before the IMF meeting on January 12, but now reports indicate that the Fund has accepted Pakistan’s request to postpone the review of its program. loans of $ 6 billion which are now expected to take place on January 28 or 31.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry expressed hope that the finance bill will be adopted by the assembly in mid-January and the IMF has already been asked to postpone its January 12 meeting.

If passed by parliament, the mini-budget will generate additional revenue to the tune of Rs 343 billion, or 0.6% of GDP, mainly by removing sales tax exemptions. Earlier, during a heated debate on the bill, members of the Standing Senate Committee on Finance expressed the unanimous opinion that the proposed tax measures would trigger an “inflation tsunami”.

Senate Speaker Sadiq Sanjrani on Jan.4 referred the Supplementary Finance Bill to the House Finance Committee with a directive to finalize the recommendations within three days. The members of the committee, however, opposed the “unconstitutional” order of the President of the Senate to finalize the examination of the bill within a short period of time.

The prime minister’s parliamentary affairs adviser Babar Awan reportedly said last week the government would not let the opposition block the legislation with disruption, adding that the doors to negotiations on the legislation were still open for the opposition. .

On December 30, the government tabled in the National Assembly the two controversial pieces of legislation required to meet certain IMF conditions amid a loud protest from the opposition. President Asad Qaiser said the finance bill would not be referred to the standing committee and would be debated in the chamber, while he referred the bill to grant “operational and financial autonomy. At the State Bank of Pakistan to the relevant chamber committee. for a report.

Opposition members, who earlier announced they would block the government’s decision to forcefully introduce the bills, in their speeches accused Pakistani government Tehreek-i-Insaf of relinquishing economic sovereignty of the country through these bills. They said the bills would cause more economic hardship for Pakistanis who were already reeling from rising prices and unprecedented unemployment.

Posted in Dawn, le 10 January 2022