ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Monday has deferred four important bills including ‘The Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2021’ for further discussion.

Meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance was held on Monday under the Chairmanship of Mr Faiz Ullah, MNA, in the Constitution Room Parliament House. The committee has considered four important bills. However, it deferred all four bills till next meeting. The bill titled “The Modaraba Companies (Floatation and Operations) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Government Bill)” was deferred till the next meeting of the committee, as requested by the concerned department. The committee discussed the bill titled “The State-owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations) Bill 2021 (Government Bill), and decided to defer the bill till the next meeting of the committee.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), EXIM Bank, briefed the committee regarding the bank’s establishment, capital, purpose and power, management and accounts & finance. The bill titled “The Export-Import Bank of Pakistan Bill, 2021 (Government Bill) was also discussed and the committee decided to defer the bill till its next meeting for thorough study of the bill by the member of committee and their valuable input.

The bill titled “The Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Government Bill)” was presented before the committee and committee decided to defer the bill till its next meeting for further deliberation.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation 2005, amended in 2017, provided for a reduction of federal fiscal deficit and ratio of public debt to gross domestic product to a prudent level by effective public debt management. The Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 proposes the following amendments: (i) limit the stock of government guarantees at 10 percent of GDP; (ii) publication of Medium-Term National Macro-Fiscal Framework; (iii) institutionalise debt management functions in a single office reporting to the Finance Secretary; (iv) Assignment of additional functions to Debt Office; and (v) create two additional senior management positions within Debt Office. Proposed amendments will strengthen the Debt Office with the mandate and resources for effective planning and execution of debt management functions of the government, maintained the proposer of the bill the Minister for Finance.

Amendment in Fiscal Responsibility & Debt Limitation Act (FRDLA) is one of the conditions of the World Bank for $350 million loan programme. According to the report, WB has recently asked Pakistan to meet four prior actions, including bringing centre and provinces under one General Sales Tax (GST) regime and amending Fiscal Responsibility & Debt Limitation Act (FRDLA) through Parliament within this fiscal year.

Members/MNAs Mr Sadaqat Ali Khan Abbasi, Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Mr Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr Faheem Khan, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Mr Ali Pervaiz, Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Dr Nafisa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ms Hina Rabbani Khar and the senior officers from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Commerce, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, EXIM Bank attended the meeting.