ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday unanimously directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to ensure the accuracy and transparency during the census process, which would start from March 15.

Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa gave briefing on upcoming population census in the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.

He informed the Committee that Council of Common Interests (CCI) in its meeting held on December 16th, 2016 decided that Census may be held on traditional method using paper based questionnaires starting from March 15th, 2017.

He said that Census is going to be held phase wise in the country.

After detailed discussion, some Committee members have shown their apprehensions regarding the increase in blocks and double entry during the census process.

The Committee has also shown its concern about the verification of Afghan refugees identity.

The Committee recommended that disabled persons should also be highlighted in the census form.

The Committee decided that the next meeting of the Committee would be convened, shortly. Chairman, NADRA would also be invited in the said meeting.

Chief Statistician informed that CCI in its meeting held on February 26th, 2016 deliberated the issue and decided to hold the Census under the supervision of Armed Forces at man to man level.

He told the Committee that due to non-availability of requisite number of Armed Forces by March/April 2016, Census cannot be held in March/April, 2016 and postponed.

The Committee, which met under the Chairmanship of Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, has shown its displeasure on the absence of Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, President (SBP), National Bank of Pakistan and President, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited and decided to call the said officers in the upcoming meeting of the Committee, in-person.

The Committee once again directed to Ministry of Finance & Revenue to ensure the compliance of the directions of the Standing Committee for providing brief of the meeting well in time, in future for advance study of the Honorable Members.

The Committee was briefed by the representatives of ZTBL, NBP and SBP regarding the reasons of high markup rates on agriculture loans.

The Committee was informed by the representative of ZTBL that 8.5 per cent were charged on its administrative expenditures.

The Committee has shown its concern on the high markup rates charged by the ZTBL and recommended that single digit markup rates should be charged to agriculture sector.

The meeting was attended by Saeed Ahmed Khan Manais, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Mohsin  Shah Nawaz Ranjha, Dr. Shizra Mansab Ali Khan Kharral, Mian Abdul Mannan,  Ms. Shiza Fatima Khawaja, Ms. Leila Khan, Dr. Nafisa Shah, Syed Mustafa Mehmud,  Asad Umar, Abdul Rashid Godil, Muhammad Ali Rashid, MNAs, besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Privatisation, Statistics,  Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), NBP and Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL).