ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee yesterday showed displeasure over the absence of top economic managers of the country including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from the committee meeting.

Members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday criticised the finance minister, secretary finance, governor State Bank of Pakistan and chairman Federal Board of Revenue for ignoring the parliament. "This becomes a joke that four senior officials of the Ministry of Finance are not present in the meeting," said Nafeesa Shah, PPP's MNA. This is contempt of the parliament, she added.

"We should cancel the sitting and send the committee's meeting expenditure to Ministry of Finance for payment," said Daniyal Aziz, MNA of the ruling PML-N. Meanwhile, another ruling party's MNA Pervaiz Malik also came down hard on the officials of the Ministry of Finance for not attending the meeting. They should come to the committee, which is a part of the parliament, he added.

PTI's MNA Murad Saeed staged walkout from the committee over the behavior of the top economic managers of the country. Committee chairman Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh also showed displeasure over the absence of high officials in the committee meeting.

Later, Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood, Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra and Chairman FBR Nisar Khan came to the committee meeting after passage of 30 minutes. "We were in a very important meeting regarding financing for terrorism under the chair of finance minister. Therefore, we came later in the committee meeting," said Waqar and apologised from the members.

Later, the committee member Nafeesa Shah also expressed concern over the agenda of the meeting. She asked that government should brief the parliamentary committee on Rs40 billion mini-budget and farmers package announced by the government.

Waqar Masood informed that Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2014 had been sent to Ministry of Law and Justice for redrafting as directed by the committee in its earlier meeting. The committee decided that said bill would be considered after 15 days.

The committee considered The Banks (Nationalization) (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The committee members were apprised by the secretary finance and governor SBP that proposed amendment was incorporated in Finance Bill 2007, however, the same was challenged in Supreme Court and the apex court directed that proposed amendment should be deleted from money bill. The governor further informed that government had decided not to make any amendments in the said act. However, it was decided that bill would be considered later because of late submission of briefing by Ministry of Finance.

Chairman FBR Nisar Khan briefed the committee on the income tax rate for industrial and commercial importers. He said that rate of tax for the commercial importers was 6 percent and for the industrial importer was 5.5 percent or 0 percent if the taxpayer was eligible for exemption certificate under clause (72B) of part IV of second schedule to Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

He further said that commercial and industrial importers fell under different schemes of assessment of income tax. Meanwhile, commercial importers are assessed under presumptive tax regime. Therefore, they are not required to pay any tax in addition to income tax deducted at the time of imports. On the other hand, industrial importers have to pay tax on the basis of their income determined at the end of the year, which may range up to 32-35 percent of their income.

The committee members showed their apprehension that this policy could be misused. Chairman FBR and secretary finance ensured that policy regarding commercial and industrial importers would be reviewed by the FBR in next budgetary proposals.