National Assembly passes ‘mini-budget’ for revival of IMF’s bailout package


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023, commonly dubbed as the ‘mini-budget‘, paving the way to unlock the much-needed bailout programme.

The mini-budget gets National Assembly’s nod as the crisis hit Pakistan continues talks with the US-based lender, who tabled stringent measures for the revival of the dilapidating economy.

In today’s session, the country’s Finance Czar Ishaq Dar mentioned a few tweaks to the bill which include an increase in excise duty on business class air travel abroad. Dar hailed recommendations by MNAs for the mini-budget and commended all members to participate.

The PML-N stalwart said the federal government has allocated an additional amount of Rs40 billion for Benazir Income Support Programme, approving 25 percent rise in the stipend of beneficiaries. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will announce a comprehensive policy to reduce government expenditure soon, Dar added.

The incumbent government tabled Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 in the National Assembly and Senate earlier this month with a proposal seeking to fulfil the requisites for revival of much-needed funds.

With minor amendments, the General Sales Tax (GST) was increased from 17 percent to 18 percent while government amplified the GST on luxury items from 17 percent to staggering 25 percent.

10 percent withholding adjustable advance tax was levied on the bills of wedding halls to change the trend of big fat events.

Which items will become expensive in Pakistan after Rs170bn mini-budget’s approval?