ISLAMABAD         -         The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Thursday approved “The Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020” without any amendment.

The meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held under the chairmanship of Faiz Ullah, MNA. The Committee discussed “The Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020”. The Member Custom briefed the Committee about the salient features of the subject Bill. After clause by clause discussion, the Committee unanimously passed the said Bill without any amendment.

Majority of the clauses of the Bill were related to the imposition of fines and penalties and giving administrative powers to the tax authorities. The government had increase fines and penalties to satisfy the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Through the Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Ordinance, the government imposed penalties and increased fines on the smuggling of goods comprising currency, gold, silver, platinum and precious stones in any form.

Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue meeting, which was held under the chair of Farooq H Naik, had already rejected the government’s “The Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020. The committee noted that aforesaid bill is not money bill, as 90 percent of the bill is not related to money bill. It has also observed that bill is against article 73 of the constitution. Under the bill, the government has proposed fines in tax laws, which are not related to money bill.

Member, IR Policy, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the Committee about the implementation status on the recommendations made by the Committee in its meeting held on 4th February, 2020 regarding the issues being faced by the exporters due to delay in refunds. He said that FBR has appointed a Joint Committee of the Representatives from trade organizations and FBR. The Committee had its first meeting on 10.02.2020 and did its initial working pertaining to calculation mechanism adopted in the ST & FE Return; now the said Committee will meet again today and tomorrow for further deliberations in this regard.

The traders from Faisalabad informed the Committee about the hurdles being faced by the traders due to the conditions for obtaining of CNIC copies from buyer. They were of the view that said condition has badly damaged the business in the country. The Committee appreciated the role of FBR and directed the FBR to resolve the said issue with the consultation of the traders. After thread bare discussion the Committee unanimously decided to appoint a Sub-Committee under the Convenership of Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani for making the recommendation to resolve the issues of traders. The Committee also decided to terminate the already constituted Committee on Customs issues.

The Committee also discussed the status of Federal Transfers to Provinces during Financial Year 2019-20 from 01.07.2019 to 31.12.2020 under NFC Award. The Additional Secretary M/o Finance briefed the Committee about the disbursement under divisible pool to provinces. The Committee members have expressed their concerns about the utilization of funds in PSDP. The Finance Secretary, Punjab, Sindh and Special Secretary KPK were present in the meeting however, due to short of time and late receiving of brief from Finance department Sindh, the Committee decided to reconsider the subject agenda in its meeting. The Committee also deferred remaining agenda pertaining to PSDP of Financial Year 2020-21.

The Committee discussed “The Eradication of Riba Bill, 2019” (moved by Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, MNA). Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan informed the Committee that SBP was working in this regard and will be able to submit its report by the end of April, 2020. After the consent given by the mover the Committee unanimously decided that subject Bill may be deferred till April, 2020. Committee also discussed the “The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020 (moved by Syed Javed Hussain, MNA) regarding to make the amendments for eradication the interest in the Country. He briefed the Committee about the reasons and objectives of the subject Bill. The Committee was of the view that purposed Bill was similar to “eradication of Riba Bill” moved by Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, MNA therefore the Committee decided that this Bill will be further considered by the end of April, 2020, along with eradication of Riba Bill.

The Committee considered the “The SBP Banking Services Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2019” however, some members of the Committee were of the concerns that original Act comparison was missing in the presentation of the SBP, therefore the Committee decided to defer the subject Bill till its next meeting.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dareshak, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Ali Pervaiz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Aftab Hussain Siddique, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and Syed Javed Hussain besides the senior officers of Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms, Ministry of Law & Justice, FBR and State Bank of Pakistan.