NA panel defers decision, asks MoF to furnish draft law

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance deferred approval of the proposed State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) Bill, 2021 and asked the Finance Ministry to provide a draft law in the next meeting after some members refused to endorse any law proposed by the multilaterals including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without perusing it.

A meeting presided over by Faiz Ullah was given briefing by the Additional Secretary, Anwar Shaikh, on broad contours of the SOEs (Governance and Operations) Act, 2021, and requested the committee to approve the proposed law as discussion with the IMF has been in progress.

Upon this, Aisha Ghous Pasha said that negotiation with the IMF does not mean to approve the proposed law without reading it.

Pasha said that as the proposed legislation would make major changes; therefore, the ministry must provide the copy of the bill to the committee. We will approve the law after clause by clause reading, she added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that we will not work as a rubber stamp at the request of the IMF. The meeting directed the Ministry of Finance to present the draft bill in the next meeting.

The director general, Ministry of Finance briefed the Committee on the “The Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2021”. He said that sound practice for public management necessitates that debt responsibilities should not be fragmented.

He added, in Pakistan, there has been a growing realisation that effectiveness of debt management function, which can be enhanced by consolidating debt management functions into signal, professionally managed, and adequately resourced Debt Management Office.

He also enlightened the expected domains, which will be addressed by enacting the proposed amendments in the Act of (FRDL), 2005.

The Committee members were of the opinion that there were a number of implications in the proposed legislation i.e. coordination with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and the role of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).—ZAHEER ABBASI