President summons National Assembly session tomorrow

House all set to deliberate on matter of giving 'absolute autonomy' to SBP

Our Correspondent March 28, 2021


President Arif Alvi has summoned a National Assembly session for tomorrow (Monday), NA secretariat's directorate general of media informed on Sunday.

According to the communique, the session will take place at the Parliament House at 4pm tomorrow.

The president summoned the session as per section 1 of Article 54 of the Constitution. This will be the NA's third and the ninth session of the third parliamentary year, during the incumbent government's tenure.

The session would centre around the matter of giving “absolute autonomy” to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The issue of making the SBP more independent of the federal government has given rise to a raucous debate, that primarily aims at targeting inflation rather than the economic growth.

Read SBP ‘absolute autonomy’ bill to be tabled in NA tomorrow

Since greater autonomy for the SBP was one of the preconditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for releasing tranches of its $6 billion loan, many have raised fears about its long-term impact not only on the economy but also on the country’s overall sovereignty.

The important changes for the autonomy are giving up the government’s right to borrow from the central bank to keep a check on deficit financing done through printing new money, extending the tenure of the SBP governor from three to five years (renewable for another term) to minimise political interference and also bring it closer to international practice, and providing immunity to SBP officials for decisions taken in good faith.

Last week, PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair expressed his party’s reservations over the bill saying that they would not allow it to be passed.

Zubair said the bill was being introduced at the behest of the IMF and added that after its passing, the premier, finance minister and the parliament would lose any and all control over the SBP.


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