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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Friday passed three government bills - the Export-Import Bank of Pakistan Bill 2022, Publication of Laws of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2022 and the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) (Amendment) Bill 2022, whereas, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been assigned the additional portfolio of Leader of the House in Senate, replacing Azam Nazeer Tarar, who is also the law minister.

The three government bills have already been passed by the National Assembly and the relevant standing committees.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani presided over the Friday sitting. Moved by the Finance Ministry, the Export-Import Bank of Pakistan Bill 2022 seeks to establish the Export-Import Bank of Pakistan for the promotion of international trade.

“The Government of Pakistan has taken several initiatives for the promotion and development of international trade as well as export-oriented industries and import substitution in the national economic interest,” reads the statement of objects and reasons of this bill

“In continuation of its efforts and reforms, and in line with best international practices, the Government of Pakistan is now seeking to establish the Export-Import Bank of Pakistan, as the national export credit agency for the promotion, expansion and diversification of international trade by providing credit, guarantee and insurance products as well as ancillary services to exporters and importers, in the form of a statutory corporation that has the backing and support of the Government of Pakistan as is customary for export credit agencies to achieve their desired potential and objectives,” the statement adds.

Dar sworn in as finance and revenue minister

Moved by the Law Ministry, the Publication of Laws of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2022 aims to amend the Publication of Laws of Pakistan Act 2016,“for smooth functioning of the Laws of Pakistan Cell, to encourage and facilitate the publisher to publish more law books at low cost for general public, to increase the period for issuance of certificate of accuracy from twenty working days to three months.”

The bill also aims to “omit punishment of imprisonment in order to encourage more publishers to publish the law books and also to provide for indemnity to protect the federal government, provincial governments and officers of the respective cells exercising any powers or performing any functions under the said act.”

Moved by the Foreign Office, the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) (Amendment) Bill 2022 seeks amending the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) Act 1948.

The bill aims to “enable and facilitate online services by saving time, reducing cost, and minimising the difficulties to reach the consulate and mission.”

Later, speaking on the floor of the house, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that the present rulers were “guilty of regime change.”

“They are the culprits involved in the regime change conspiracy. The issue of cypher should be thoroughly probed,” he demanded.

Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique disclosed before the Senate that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was suffering a revenue loss of 35 billion rupees to Rs40 billion annually due to the “irresponsible statement of the former aviation minister about our pilots.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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