Tarin assures SBP to remain under govt’s control Reza says he is a Pakistani and has no other nationality

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Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin assured on Monday that after the passage of the State Bank of Pakistan Amendment Bill 2021, the central bank will still remain under the government’s control.

The finance minister’s comments came during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, with Senator Talha Mehmood in the chair.

The finance minister said the government will nominate the names for the SBP’s board of directors. “The government will also have the authority to appoint the members of the board […] State Bank of Pakistan will not be independent.”

Meanwhile, speaking during the session, Tarin said if Senate is not considered part of Parliament, then why not shut it down. “I am an elected Senator, you insulted me in a light tone,” the finance minister said as he spoke to the committee’s chairman, Senator Mahmood.

The finance minister told the committee that there would be a slight increase in inflation after the passage of the so-called mini-budget, as he talked about the bills which are a pre-requisite to resume the $6 billion External Fund Facility of the International Monetary Fund.

“Why shouldn’t I impose taxes on cosmetics and drinks […] agricultural products should also be taxed,” the finance minister, adding that the government expects Rs100 billion in income from income taxes.

Tarin said the government has delayed the talks with IMF and has given them a later date of January 28 or 31, which was originally scheduled to take place on Jan 12.

“We told the IMF that the Parliament is not a rubber stamp. The bills that the parliament will approve will be presented before the IMF,” the finance minister said.

For his part, Governor SBP Reza Baqir said a wrong perception was being built that the government had sold the state bank to the IMF. “Now the document is available to everyone, the government’s powers have not been curtailed.”

Baqir asked the committee whether it was wrong to be a former employee of the IMF. “Several SBP governors have been employees of the IMF and other financial institutions.”

“I have no other nationality, I am a Pakistan.”

Later, Iqbal said these were important amendments, and therefore, the finance minister and the SBP governor should speak to the Opposition on the matter.

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