The continual rolling of heads at the Ministry of Finance has started to affect its operation as newly appointed Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin has sought more time from the National Assembly speaker for presenting the annual budget for fiscal year 2021-22.
According to sources, the speaker’s chamber had contacted Tarin and consulted with him with regard to summoning the budget session. Tarin, however, told the office that he has just taken charge of the ministry and will need some more time to prepare the annual budget.
The sources said the speaker later contacted the parliamentary leaders of opposition parties and told them that the government wanted to present the budget in the second or third week of June.
The opposition parties, however, asked the government to hold the budget session in the first week of June. They said the budget session will continue for at least three weeks and if the session starts in the mid of June, it cannot be concluded by the end of the month.
On April 17, a former PPP lawmaker, Shaukat Tarin, was sworn in as the fourth economic czar to be appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his 3-year tenure. Tarin had earlier served as the finance minister in former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s cabinet from 2009 to 2010.
Tarin replaced PTI’s recently appointed finance minister Hammad Azhar. Before Hammad’s short stint, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh served as the finance minister before being unceremoniously sacked in March – that too when the prime minister had claimed the economy was on course to recovery.
Prime Minister Imran Khan removed Dr Shaikh due to differences over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, particularly on recommending sweeping governor-centric powers to the central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).