Debate on Pakistan budget to begin in National Assembly

Islamabad: A 40-hour long general debate on Pakistan’s budget 2020-21 will begin in the National Assembly from Monday.

According to parliamentary tradition, the opposition leader starts debate on budget but since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has tested positive for COVID-19, he would not be present to initiate it, The Express Tribune reported.

In the absence of the Opposition Leader, PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif is expected to open the debate and after his speech, other nominated members will take part in the debate.

Federal Minister for Industries Hamad Azhar, who had presented the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government budget, will conclude the budget debate after the end of the discussion.

After the budget debate opens, the opposition lawmakers continue to submit budget cuts to various ministries to the National Assembly Secretariat.

After the conclusion of the debate, cuts are tabled.

However, for the first time in the country’s history the lawmakers will not vote on the cuts as an agreement has been reached between the federal government and key opposition parties following the standard operating procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final approval of the budget for the upcoming financial year takes place after the Finance Bill will be approved.

The process of final approval of the budget, which was presented on June 12, for the financial year 2020-21 is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

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