Only parliament will decide mini-budget’s fate: Fawad

Minister clarifies the air, saying it is not being passed through an ordinance

Rizwan Shehzad   December 24, 2021
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 14. PHOTO: APP


Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday refuted the news and speculations that the government would pass the mini-budget through an ordinance, saying it would be tabled in parliament and the highest legislature forum would take the final decision in this regard.

To the news and rumours regarding amendments to the tune of Rs360 billion to the Finance Bill through an ordinance instead of an act of parliament, the government spokesperson made it clear that the mini-budget was not being passed through an ordinance rather it would be presented before parliament.

“A faction of the media, without taking the government’s version, constantly spread the news that the amendments to the Finance Bill are being brought through an ordinance instead of the act of parliament,” the information minister tweeted. “The amendments to the Finance Bill will be tabled in parliament and it will make the final decision.”

It has been reported that Pakistan is ought to approve the bills if it wants to qualify for the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan tranche of $1 billion. The imposition of roughly Rs360 billion additional taxes is one of the pre-conditions set by the IMF for the revival of $6 billion stalled bailout programme.

However, the reports added that the government has decided to delay the approval of the mini-budget from the federal cabinet after it faced defeat in the local government elections in its stronghold – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The ruling party members attributed the defeat to rising inflation in the country and wrong selection of ticket holders.

Read: Revised SBP bill vague on inflation

Talking to the media along with SAPM on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill, Fawad launched a tirade against the opposition parties, saying: “PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz is celebrating the victory of others” in the first phase of the recently held local governments polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“Maryam Nawaz, instead of celebrating the victory of other opposition parties in K-P LG polls, should express sympathy with her party’s losing candidates and motivate them after their sheer defeat in polls,” he said. “The PTI is still the largest political party at village council level in K-P.”

Meanwhile, Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin’s spokesperson on Thursday confirmed that the 6th review would be presented before the IMF Board on January 12 next year. “I am pleased to confirm that the 6th review will be presented before the IMF Board on January 12, 2022,” Tarin’s spokesperson Muzzammil Aslam tweeted.

The tweets of the information minister and Tarin’s spokesperson suggest that the government would fulfil the IMF’s conditions, including passing of the Finance Bill and the State Bank of Pakistan Amendment Bill, 2021, before the sixth review.

Coalition’s support

Fawad said the PTI’s coalition partners -- PML-Q, MQM-P and GDA -- have said that they will be onboard with the government’s decision.


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