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ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry has hinted at making changes/adjustment in petroleum prices on a weekly basis instead of fortnightly; however, the final decision would be taken by the federal cabinet.

This was stated by Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha while talking to reporters after the meeting. Replying to a question that the government has decided to make adjustment in petroleum prices on a weekly basis, she said, adding that decision in this regard would be taken by the federal cabinet.

“No decision has yet been taken in this regard”, she said, adding that the all of IMF's conditions have been met and Pakistan’s case would be taken up.

She said that the government would be disbursed US$1.17 billion under the EFF programme and brotherly Islamic countries would also come forward to help Pakistan.

The minister said that there is no need to be worried about the challenges as the economy is improving. She said that following a decline in the oil prices the government would pass on as much as possible relief to the consumers.

Earlier, a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance headed by Senator Saleem Mandivwala, unanimously, approved Exim (the Export-Import) Bank of Pakistan Bill, 2022.

'The Exim Bank of Pakistan Bill, 2022', was approved after a briefing by the CEO EXIM Bank, Irfan Bukhari, that proposed the law will play a key role in boosting the exports of the country and it will also provide a level playing field to the exporters. The meeting decided to approve it unanimously. The major aim of the bill is to provide material support to exporters in delivering their products to the international markets, he added.

Petrol price cut by Rs3.05, diesel’s increased by Rs8.95

However, while discussing the private member bill, 'Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2022', was approved by the committee with Rs0.5 million per month penalty in case of default after the expiry date of any document or return to be filed per month.

However, the meeting deferred approval of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) (Governance and Operation Bill 2022) following objections by both treasury and opposition. Senator Sadia Abbasi of the ruling party said that the profit-making entities instead of loss making are being included for privatization on the instruction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She added when her party was in opposition, they had protested on State Bank bill and now after coming to power are doing similar things.

She said that in order to improve the SOEs’ performance, the government has to work on its own, not on the dictation of the IMF. She said that the governance cannot be improved with law and she would oppose it.

Senator Zeeshan Khanzada also supported her. She said that after the approval of this bill, the shares of these entities will be sold and inclusion of profit-making SOEs in the proposed law is against the interest of the country.

However, the Minister of State for Finance said that steps are being taken to improve the performance of government-owned enterprises and a financial unit will be established in the Ministry of Finance to oversee the governance structure of the SOEs. The boards of SOEs will be strengthened under the new legislation, stated the minister. The committee deferred the bill.

Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed’s briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Finance said that majority of the recommendations of the committee were incorporated in the Finance Bill and accepted that the super tax will be applicable from July 1, 2021. The super tax will be levied in 2021 only then will it come in the income tax returns of 2022, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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