Senate of Pakistan

Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue

Islamabad, (VOM) :  Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held here at Parliament House  with Senator Saleem Mandviwalla in Chair.

The senate body rejected the Bill titled “The State-Owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations)” by majority vote, while Senator Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin abstain from voting. Senator Saadia Abbasi stated that Government should not endorse previous govt bill and make new bills in the light of their own policies. She further added that government did not require any bill for good governance.

The committee discussed the matter of overcharge on issuance of LCs by banks. Senator Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin apprised that owing to this incurring problem, traders have been making payments from dubai accounts for goods imported from Shanghai. He further added that the banks have issued LCs on Rs 240 or above when dollar values at Rs.230 in interbank and profit of banks increased around 100 p.c. Officials of UBL and Bank Al Habib told that in August, they have suffered the loss around Rs.700 Million and Rs.500 Million respectively. Dr.Inayat Hussain,Deputy Governor SBP, told that the state bank has initiated the inquiry into matter and report will be presented before committee.

Matter of unprecedented rise in dollar value was also deliberated. Senator Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin inquiresd as to why dollar value is rising even after the IMF bailout. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, State Minister for Finance and Revenue, maintained that unfortunately Pakistan share in global emissions is around 1p.c. but Pakistan is among the most affected countries due to climate change. She added that the flood has added to the voes of already devasted economy and government is in negotiations with Saudia Arabia and Qatar for investment in key sectors in order to provide strength to the dwindling economy. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla stated that “Bangladesh has more reserves than Pakistan but they have taken more stringent measures than us”. He suggested that restrictions should be put on use of fuel for cars and bikes as large sum of country is being spent on the payment for fuel imports.

Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman highlighted the issue of Tobacco farmers of KPK who are forced to leave this business due to heavy taxation. He told that around 5 lac farmers have been affected by these hefty taxes. The Chair decided to form Sub Committee which will investigate the matter and present its report before senate body.

Furthermore, the committee also discussed the matter of harassment of the citizens by FBR officials. Senator Afnan Ullah Khan told that he was covering candidate for his late father in senate elections and FBR has ex-party the matter without serving any prior notice. He filed a case in revenue tribunal and court has decided the matter in his favour, he added. Asim Ahmad, Chairman FBR, informed that inquiry will be conducted into matter and committee will be apprised of facts within one month.

The senate body also deliberated on public petition regarding regularization of outsourced staff of National Bank of Pakistan. Rehmat Ali Hasnie, President NBP, apprised that matter is sub- judice before Islamabad High Court due to which NBP could not shed light on it. The Chair disposed of the matter.

While deliberating on the decision taken by Civil Aviation Authority regarding declaration of foreign currency by Inbound International Passengers. Asim Ahmad, Chairman FBR, informed that matter doesn’t come under the ambit of civil aviation authority. He apprised that, in 2012 State Bank of Pakistan had issued a notification in which passengers  carrying 10,000 dollars or more were required to make declaration and Customs department has also issued a similar notice in 2018 but threshold was not specified in it. He further added that declaration letter will be available on an App by the 30th September.

The meeting was attended by Senator Saadia Abbasi,Senator Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin,Senator Mohsin Aziz,Senator Kamil Ali Agha,Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman,Senator Syed Shibli Faraz,Senator Afnan Ullah Khan,Senator Dilawar Khan,State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha,Secretary Ministry of Finance Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh,Chairman FBR Asim Ahmad,Deputy Governor SBP Dr.Inayat Hussain and officials of National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited,Meezan Bank,Habib Metropolitan Bank, Allied Bank, Standard Chartered Bank,United Bank Limited,Bank Al Habib were also in attendance.

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