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ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Monday visited the Parliament House and separately met Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. Senate Secretariat says it was the first visit of the president to upper house of the Parliament.

Prior to meeting Senate chairman, the president visited National Assembly where he was received by the NA speaker. An official statement from the Presidency said the president chaired a meeting regarding preventive steps against the Covid-19 during upcoming budget session.

The president stressed to ensure implementation of SOPs during the upcoming budget session including social distancing. He also stressed on adhering to the prescribed guidelines related to the media coverage of the session, as a preventive measure against coronavirus, the statement added.

Later, the president visited Senate where he was received by the chairman Senate and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Swati.

The president also visited Senate library and other departments of Senate where he was given related briefings about the functions of the departments concerned.

The president, in his meeting with Senate chairman, exchanged notes on the upcoming budget session, the Senate Secretariat said.

President Alvi has summoned the respective sessions of the Senate and National Assembly on June 5 while federal government is scheduled to present the federal budget 2020-21 on June 12.

Constitutionally, the NA is empowered to review, debate and pass the Financial Bill whereas the upper house of the Parliament has no practical role in this regard. The Senate can only hold a debate on the proposed Financial Bill and make recommendations, accordingly. However, the Senate has no authority to pass the Finance Bill and it is not binding on the federal government and NA to adopt Senate's recommendations on the federal budget. It is the discretion of the treasury benches in NA to either completely accept the recommendations of the Senate in Finance Bill and incorporate them in the federal budget, partially accept these recommendations or reject them altogether.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020