Govt Set to Pass Mini-Budget Tomorrow

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government has finalized the preparations to get the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 passed from the National Assembly on Thursday.

Talking to media, Advisor to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan, said the National Assembly would approve the mini-budget in its session on January 13.

Nonetheless, opposition leaders have strongly opposed the mini-budget in their speeches. They, and the important PTI allies such as Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Grand Democratic Alliance, have demanded the removal of taxes proposed through the mini-budget on essential consumer items.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also been busy convincing different party leaders to vote for the mini-budget. He met Moonis Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League Q, and Member National Assembly (MNA) Ali Zaidi.

The government needs a simple majority in the National Assembly for the approval of the mini-budget, and the coalition parties will play an important role in this regard.

Sources believe that the coalition parties and some members from treasury benches have reservations over the mini-budget as they fear it would cause inflation and the public would face the consequences.

On the other hand, the opposition parties also want to reject the mini-budget and they are optimistic that they will succeed in the Parliament.

Looking at the numbers in the National Assembly, the PTI-led coalition government has a simple majority in the Parliament. It will be important for the treasury bench to ensure all members of coalitions parties are present in the house to vote.

Commentators say that the Prime Minister will have to take a vote of confidence in case the mini-budget fails in the National Assembly like the last year. The Prime Minister had taken a vote of confidence from the National Assembly when the PTI had lost the election of the Senate on an Islamabad seat.

According to the official estimates, the government wants to impose taxes and duties of Rs. 343 billion through the mini-budget. The officials believe that out of the total amount, Rs. 280 billion would be refunded or adjustable taxes. They say that tax on import of machinery will be refundable and government estimates indicate that Rs. 120 billion will be the refundable amount on import of machinery. They also believe that Rs. 160 billion will be refundable from the pharmaceutical industry. Around Rs. 70 billion will be generated from the import of luxury items.

Sources said the documentation of the economy was the main priority of the government instead of raising tax through the mini-budget. This is the exact line of the International Monetary Fund as it wants to eliminate the distortions in the tax system of the country due to tax exemptions granted to strong and powerful lobbies.

The meeting of the Executive Board of IMF is expected on 28 or 31 January 2022.

Source: Pro Pakistani