Finance Bill Likely to be Tabled Before Senate Tomorrow

President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, has convened a session of Senate at the Parliament House on Tuesday at 4:00 pm, according to a notification.

It is expected that the Finance Supplementary Bill 2021 and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 will be tabled during the session, a constitutional requirement under Article 73 of the Constitution.

Article 73(1) of the Constitution states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 70, a money bill shall originate in the National Assembly: provided that simultaneously when a money bill, including the finance bill containing the annual budget statement, is presented in the National Assembly, a copy thereof shall be transmitted to the Senate which may, within fourteen days, make recommendations thereon to the National Assembly.”

The recommendations from the Senate are not binding for the National Assembly, and it has the power to approve a money bill without considering them.

In a clarification issued on Sunday, the Finance Division had dispelled the notion that the government is in no hurry to get the bills passed.

The statement read, “Government of Pakistan has introduced both the bills in National Assembly and IMF has moved the 6th tranche recommendation to its board for consideration on January 12, 2021. As soon as the prior actions are completed by Pakistan, which the government is pushing hard, the IMF board will consider it for approval. IMF board can move whenever our actions are completed.”

The Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, while speaking to a private news channel on Sunday, apprised that the government would get the finance bill passed from the National Assembly very soon, after which it would be presented in Senate for the final process.

The approval of the bills from the parliament is required for the revival of the stalled $6 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Last Thursday, the government had tabled the two controversial bills in the National Assembly amid strong protest by opposition parties, who accused the ruling party of surrendering the country’s economic sovereignty through the bills. The next days’ session lasted just 12 minutes before it was prorogued for an indefinite period.