ISLAMABAD                -              Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile on Thursday expressed displeasure over the performance of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) that failed to enhance the country’s exports in last several years.

Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile, which met under the chair of Mirza Mohammad Afridi, discussed three points’ agenda. The committee members were annoyed over the performance of TDAP, which has the mandate to increase the country’s exports. However, they noted that TDAP has failed to increase the exports of the country in last many years. Senators have noted that TDAP has become burden over the national kitty. TDAP has no fund to organize exhibitions in other countries, which is essential for enhancing the exports of the country. The committee has sought detailed performance report of the TDAP from the ministry of commerce in next meeting.

The committee has also recommended the government to appoint chairman Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) immediately. The committee members noted that EPZA is a platform, which could play important role in increasing foreign exchange reserves and foreign investment in the country. Senators said that government should appoint EPZA head with immediate effect to make it functional.

The parliamentary committee has stressed the need for eliminating under-invoicing to check money-laundering through trade of IT equipment. Committee chairman Afridi said that committee is giving importance to resolve under invoicing issue, as it is one of the major problems in economy. He said that government should formulate a strategy to control the under invoicing. Senator Shibili Faraz said that economy is facing massive loss due to the under invoicing. It is also affecting the local production.

The committee was informed that government has formulated a mechanism to control under-invoicing through trade of IT equipment. The exports of IT equipment would be cleared under the new mechanism. Earlier, the companies, which were importing computers and other equipments, were involved in under-invoicing that resulted in massive loss to the national exchequer. Member Federal Board of Revenue Jawad Agha informed the committee that taxes and duties on the import of IT equipments are not high in Pakistan.

Chairman Afridi said that committee had highlighted the issue of under-invoicing. After that, the FBR had also identified $5 million under-invoicing in IT sector. Therefore, the government had accepted the committee recommendation and formulated strategy to check the under-voicing. The FBR had also appreciated the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile’s role in identifying the issue of under-invoicing, which is causing huge loss to the national exchequer.

Officials of Customs Intelligence informed the committee that there were 17 cases that found in under-invoicing through trade of IT equipment. The committee was further informed that they are also reviewing banking channels to check the under-invoicing through trade of IT equipment. Later, the committee has directed the government to submit detailed report on the issue of under-invoicing through trade of IT equipment by March 15, 2020. The committee has noted that there is need to improve the performance of Pakistan Revenue Automation (Pvt.) Ltd, (PRAL). Senator Dilawal Khan said that the government should audit the PRAL.

The committee meeting was attended by Senators Shibli Faraz, Dilawar Khan, Ghous Mohammad Niazi, Nuzhat Sadiq, Atta-ur-Rehman and officials of ministry of commerce and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).