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Supplementary finance bill: Cabinet pauses process over questions

Updated 29 Dec, 2021
The federal cabinet will meet today to discuss the supplementary finance bill. BR
The federal cabinet will meet today to discuss the supplementary finance bill. BR

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has delayed approval of supplementary finance bill, 2021, on Tuesday, for a detailed discussion today (Wednesday), may be in a special session of the cabinet, following questions raised by some members.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary, while briefing the media after the cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Tuesday, stated that the federal cabinet approved National Security Policy 2022-26.

The minister did not specify those who have raised questions and stated that he cannot divulge anything because he had taken the oath of secrecy, but some media reports suggested that even some members of the ruling party had shown serious concerns.

In response to questions with regard to mini-budget, the minister said first objection was to call it a ‘mini-budget’ because these are adjustments in the previous finance bill. However, he conceded that approval of these measures was essential to remain in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

He said that there would be consequences of not being in the IMF programme. He asked the opposition, whichis critical of the IMF loans, to suggest an alternative, if they had to manage the situation without the Fund.

“There was initial discussion in the cabinet meeting on proposed adjustments and another session would he held either on Tuesday evening or Wednesday for detailed discussion on question raised during initial briefing,” he said that decision would be taken in the evening whether a special meeting of the cabinet would be held on supplementary finance bill or not. He added that one thing is clear that the law would get passed from the on-going session of the parliament. The minister insisted that the adjustments would not have any impact on the life of citizens.

Earlier, the minister said that the federal cabinet has ratified the December 16, 17 decisions of the cabinet committee on legislative including the State Bank of Pakistan Amendment Bill 2021, draft Quaid-e-Azam Foundation Act, 2021, Future Security and Markets Bill, 2021, and Passport Rules, 2021, etc.

The minister said that the federal cabinet has approved the first National Security Policy with linkage to economy and the life of the common man because unless common man is not satisfied, national security cannot be possible.

The federal cabinet, he said approved the formation of Joint Investigation Committee to investigate Nazim Jokhio murder case besides appointing Dr Ghulam Nabi as member of Monetary and Fiscal Policy Coordination Board on the recommendation of the Finance Ministry.

The minister said that the meeting also directed the Punjab government for taking action against hoarding and smuggling of the urea fertilizer, following complaints and fertiliser crisis started in the country because higher price of urea in the international market was an incentive for smugglers. He said that the government provided gas to the fertiliser plants even in the two winter months to ensure sufficient production of urea in the country and assured the situation of urea would improve in the country in the next 38 hours.

The federal cabinet also directed for issuance of tax directory of the parliamentarians for fiscal year 2019, he said adding that on the recommendations of the Finance Ministry, cabinet gave approval to the members of the board of House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) as well as granted approval of Mehmood Mandviwala as member security exchange board.

With regard to question about former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said that the opposition has been announcing from day one to overthrow the government and referred to the march by Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman. He said that the government would bring the former premier back from the UK, if he does not come as the matter was taken up with the British authorities.

Speaking on the occasion, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said that the federal cabinet has approved the countries first “National Security Policy (NSP)” designed to ensure security of the common man with the economic security as core of the policy. The NSP would be an umbrella and other policies would be under it and the foreign policy would be based on peace and peace not only with the neighbouring countries but also with the other countries, he said.

He said that human security population, health security, and food security have been given importance in the NSP.

He said that the policy formulation process started in 2014 and four rounds of ministries were held and suggestions came from the provinces have been incorporated. The military leadership and institutions worked together.

He said that input was taken from Pakistani experts, academics, students and the private sector in this policy from 2014 to date. This policy has been finalised after much broad consultation. He said that the policy entails a complete implementation plan and National Security committee would be given briefing about the update with regard to implementation on a monthly basis and the policy would also include charter of NS and charter of economy.

This article first appeared in Business Recorder on Dec. 29, 2021