Federal govt to present mini-budget today


Federal govt to present mini-budget today
  • The federal government will present a mini-budget of Rs350 billion today.
  • After the approval by the federal cabinet, the supplementary finance bill will be tabled before the National Assembly for adoption.
  • The government seeks a $6 billion IMF programme after the mini-budget is approved.

The federal government will present the mini-budget worth Rs350 billion today that will cause what traders and critics of the government fear, a renewed wave of inflation in the country, Geo News reported Thursday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a meeting of the federal cabinet that will approve the mini-budget at noon today. The federal cabinet, with PM Imran Khan in the chair, will give a go-ahead to the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021.

Later, the Finance Amendment Bill 2021 will directly be presented in the National Assembly as part of the government’s effort to get the IMF package worth $6 billion.

Earlier, PM Khan will chair a meeting of the members of the PTI’s parliamentary party who will be briefed on the mini-budget.

Following the passage of the mini-budget, prices of several commodities, including power, gas and petroleum products, will hike owing to the tough conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to sources.

Besides rolling back subsidies worth Rs350 billion, taxes and duties on more than 1,700 items will also be increased in the mini-budget, said sources, adding that taxes on all imported and luxury items will be increased.

None from treasury benches or allies objected to mini-budget: Fawad

While speaking during the Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shazeb Khanzada Kay Sath’ on Wednesday, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that yesterday’s meeting of the federal cabinet had to be cancelled as there was no session of the National Assembly scheduled then. He explained that a bill has to go directly to the lower house once the cabinet has approved it, as per law. 

The minister said neither treasury members nor the government’s allies have any objections over the mini-budget. Replying to a query regarding the IMF’s tough conditions, Fawad Chaudhry said the Fund’s previous Rs700 billion worth of conditions have halved – that is a relief and power tariffs have already been adjusted. 

“Hence, I believe the mini-budget will pass smoothly and will bring about confidence in the markets,” he hoped.

Responding to a question about the government’s role in bringing Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan, Fawad Chaudhry said it is the responsibility of the Lahore High Court (LHC) judges, who accepted the affidavit of Shahbaz Sharif, to take action against him. 

Also, the Centre is moving the LHC for this purpose, he said, adding that the LHC should have taken a suo motu notice of the issue as Shahbaz failed to honour his guarantee in which he assured the court that he would “ensure the return” of his brother.

Moreover, it will be easy for Pakistan to bring back Nawaz Sharif once the legal instrument with the UK government reached an agreement.

“If Nawaz Sharif does not come back to Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif will have to go to jail in his place,” he asserted. 

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