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SBP Amendment Bill is expected to be revised by the government

ISLAMABAD: Due to misgivings from various quarters, the government is expected to alter the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill. Various institutions, according to sources, have voiced concerns about the proposed amendment law, particularly the governor’s unrestricted powers.

The SBP Amendment Bill was authorised by the federal cabinet in March this year, but the government later altered the text when Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem allegedly pronounced several of the terms “unconstitutional.”

Also read: PIBs help the SBP raise Rs158 billion

During recent meetings, Naseem told IMF representatives that they were essentially asking the government to amend the constitution which is not possible.

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Reportedly, the IMF wants the SBP governor to have powers equal to the federal finance minister whereas the lending organisation also desires that no one questions the central bank governor about actions with regard to the monetary policy among other things.

Sources close to the development said that the high-ups of the government are closely monitoring the working of incumbent SBP Governor Reza Baqir as they are not happy with recent actions such as the raise in policy rate.

They said that the government had a plan to table the SBP amendment and finance supplementary bills 2021 in the meeting of the federal cabinet; however, the Cabinet did not consider the bills after the economic team apprised the premier about the reservations of different quarters.

On Tuesday, the minister for information had said that the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases (CCoLC) would make more changes in the SBP Amendment Bill due to which it has not been finalised yet.

It is worth mentioning here that the IMF has directed Pakistan to get the amendment bill and finance supplementary bill approved by the parliament in order to get the $1 billion tranche by January 12, 2022.

This scribe made an attempt to contact to Advisor to PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin to inquire about presenting the bills in the Cabinet meeting but he did not reply.

Also read: The SBP’s reserves have shrunk by $90 million

On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance spokesperson said that he is not aware of the government bringing the said bills through ordinances instead of tabling the same in the National Assembly (NA).

Meanwhile, Profit also approached IMF Resident Representative for Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz about the above-mentioned developments; however, she did not reply despite seeing the WhatsApp messages.

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