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The Finance Bill 2022, or the budget for the upcoming year, unsurprisingly sailed through the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, after a whole host of changes from the one originally presented by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail earlier in the month. The government claims that the changes made in this period are not at the behest of the IMF, but a means to fulfil the outgoing government's commitments and balance the taxation regime, but at this point, there is not much difference between them.

One of the more significant changes is the addition of a Rs50 fuel levy, which the Finance Minister has claimed will not be imposed immediately. However, with the way things stand and the government desperately looking to unlock the IMF funding, if our team is unable to convince the IMF to release funds, the levy and all the other 'hard' measures proposed are likely to be implemented sooner rather than later.

The Finance Bill passed through with little disagreement in the Assembly, but this is not shocking, given that the opposition is unrepresented in the lower house of parliament ever since PTI walked out. However, even last year, when the PTI government was in power, we saw little discussion and debate on the budget. This is primarily because poor policies in the past and the...

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