NA stamps IMF-influenced mini-budget


The National Assembly on Monday approved the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 for the remaining four months of the fiscal year 2022-23 as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar convinced members of the lower house of parliament that the ‘mini-budget’ was the need of the hour.

The finance czar had tabled the bill in the National Assembly and Senate on February 15 with budget proposals presented seeking to fulfil the prerequisites for unlocking the crucial $1.1 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan tranche which will help cushion the country’s dwindling economy.

Pakistan is in dire need of funds as it battles a wrenching economic crisis as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)-held foreign exchange reserves barely cover one month of imports.

The Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 laid in the house last week, brings about an increase in the general sales tax (GST) from 17% to 18% apart from increasing the federal excise duty on sugary items, tobacco, airline tickets, marriage halls, and cement.

The government has already enforced the increase in GST through administrative approval from the federal cabinet. Now, however, it has proposed giving similar powers to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

More to follow…

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