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Finance Minister Tarin to present ‘mini-budget’ in Senate today

shaukat tarin

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has summoned a session of the Senate on Tuesday (today) to allow the government to present the controversial finance supplementary bill, generally known as mini-budget.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan says Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 will be tabled in the Senate on Tuesday. In an interview with a private TV channel, he asked opposition parties to avoid politicizing the issues and give appropriate proposals regarding the mini-budget.

The bill has already been presented in the National Assembly amid the opposition’s protest to meet certain conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before the next tranche of the financial assistance programme is released.

According to the 16-point agenda issued by the Senate Secretariat on Monday for the opening day sitting, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin will “lay before the Senate a copy of the money bill, the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021, and move that the Senate may make recommendations, if any, to the National Assembly on the bill under Article 73 of the Constitution”.

The IMF’s Executive Board is scheduled to meet on January 12 to take a decision on the disbursement of about $1bn tranche. The approval of the finance (supplementary) bill seeking to amend certain laws related to taxes and duties and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 is necessary to ensure that Pakistan’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility is cleared.

Speaking to reporters at the launching ceremony of Parliamentarians Tax Directory on Monday, Tarin said he would present the finance (supplementary) bill before the Senate on Tuesday to fulfil the key constitutional requirement.

He said that Pakistan’s review was still on the agenda of the IMF board’s meeting scheduled to be held on January 12. Tarin said the Senate could finalise its recommendations in four days and then the bill could be passed by the National Assembly. He said there was no problem for the IMF if the approval of the bill was delayed for a few days.

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