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‘Mini-budget’ likely to be presented before Dec 14 cabinet meeting

12 Dec, 2021
The cabinet will also approve Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s annual report for the year 2019-20. Reuters
The cabinet will also approve Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s annual report for the year 2019-20. Reuters

By Mushtaq Ghumman

The Federal Cabinet scheduled to meet on Tuesday (December 14, 2021) to approve the transfer of 33.5 percent working interest and operator-ship of China ZenHua Oil to Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) Baska Block (granted on G 2 G basis).

To be presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan the Cabinet will also approve Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (OGRA’s) annual report for the year 2019-20.

Ministry of Industries and Production will submit a report on sugar sector reforms prepared by a Committee in the light of directions given by the Federal Cabinet on July 7, 2020. The Sugar Inquiry Commission, in its findings, noted that basic regulation was lacking and urged the improvement in the regulatory system.

The Cabinet will also discuss the country’s economic and political situation, in addition to the financial woes of Afghanistan and the measures taken by Pakistan so far to help Afghanistan.

Minister for Science and Technology, Senator Syed Shibli Faraz will brief the Cabinet about his recent meeting with the Chief Election Commission on the issue of the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and I-voting.

Finance Ministry is expected to present a “mini-budget” prepared as per agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government will also get its approval from the National Assembly which is prerequisite of the Fund. The overall financial impact of new measures would be around Rs 600-700 billion.

According to the agenda, the Cabinet will consider following items submitted by different Ministries/ Divisions: (i) establishment of new bi-directional international ATS route between Pakistan and Tajikistan;(ii) designation of SCAT airlines;(iii) inclusion of article of code-sharing in the air services agreement between Pakistan and Iraq;(iv) extension in last date of exchange of RS 10,50,100 and 1000 old design banknotes;(v) report for the Cabinet with reference to Cabinet decision in case No.949/33/2021 taken on October 5, 2021;(vi) rationalization of visa regime-modalities for visa regime in respect of Afghanistan;(vii) proposed mechanism for INGOS to work for relief activities in Afghanistan;(viii ) phase-II of the bound international evacuation humanitarian safe passage through land and air routes for vulnerable Afghans destined for their countries;(ix) streamlining of visa regime for International NGOs;(x) ratification of the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms (CCIR) in its meeting held on November 24, 2021;(xi) ratification of the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) in its meeting held on December 2, 2021; and (xii) ratification of decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting held on December 10, 2021.

This article was originally published in Business Recorder on December 12, 2021.