ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Monday unanimously passed ‘The Companies Bill, 2017’ aimed at discouraging fraud, money laundering and terror financing.

The 857-page bill, moved by treasury benches MNA Rana Afzal, is consisted of 516 clauses. The bill will facilitate growth of economy in general and corporate sector in particular by providing simplified procedure for starting business.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says: “In order to give immediate impetus to the economy and to stimulate economic growth there is a need to promulgate the proposed Companies bill, 2017.”

The Companies Bill 2017, it says, intends to replace the Companies Ordinance 1984 to consolidate and amend the law relating and encourage and promote corporatisation in the country based on best international practices.

This bill provides relief and incentives to corporate sector especially small and medium size companies as market experts and business community were at unison during various consultation sessions on the bill. “The legislation will elevate Pakistan’s economy and address longstanding demands of the business community to compete with the international market players with reduction in cost of incorporating and doing business,” it added. It will also encourage use of modern communication technology coupled with simplified regulatory procedure and provide much-needed relief to corporate sector.

Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said exhaustive exercise was carried out on the bill by both opposition and government lawmakers to ensure quality. The bill has been prepared in line with the best international practices. He thanked all the stakeholders for their cooperation in finalisation of the Bill.

Speaking on different clauses of the bill, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said this bill will facilitate growth of economy in general and the corporate sector in particular. “We have accepted amendment proposed by opposition,” he said.

The minister also lauded opposition parties’ members Nafeesa Shah, Dr Shireen Mazari and Abdul Rahid Godil for their cooperation.

The house also passed "The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016" and  "The Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill 2016".

OPPOSITION WALKOUT

The opposition lawmakers also staged a walkout of the National Assembly against assassination attempt on ex-member of the Punjab Assembly in Haroonabad.

Syed Naveed Qamar from PPP-P, on a point of order, regretted the incident, saying the incident was enough to reflect as to how the election campaign would be conducted for the next general elections.

“The Punjab police have not been able to arrest murderers who killed Private Secretary of Shaukat Basra,” said Naveed Qamar and left the house in protest. Other opposition parties also joined hands and walked out.

Federal Minister Chaudhry Barjees Tahir said the culprits involved in this attack on the PPP leader would be arrested and taken to task. “Inquiry will be conducted on merit,” he vowed.