ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue yesterday expressed displeasure over absence of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran Baloch from the committee meeting.

The committee, which met under the chair of Senator Farooq H Naik, discussed budget proposals presented by the senators. The proposals would be moved to the National Assembly for incorporating in Finance Bill 2019. However, it is not binding on the National Assembly to incorporate proposals of the upper house of the parliament. Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar assured the committee that government would try to incorporate suggestions of the senators regarding budget for next fiscal year. Earlier, the committee members were of the view that government had not given importance to their recommendations when mini-budgets were introduced  Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi informed the committee that government wanted to identify extent of mis-invoicing in export declarations in order to ascertain suspected items or sectors. He further said that initiative had arisen in backdrop of reports indicating mis-invoicing in exports, which included under-invoicing resulting in loss of remittances. Besides, over-invoicing was used to transfer excessive funds abroad. Mis-invoicing could also be used possibly as a mechanism for trade-based money laundering which was also identified by the FATF.

The committee rejected government’s proposal that prime minister would appoint judges of customs courts. Members of the committee said that prime minister should also appoint judges of accountability courts if he/she would appoint custom courts judges. The appointment of custom courts judges should be done through federal government in consultation with chief justice of Pakistan.

The committee directed that Secretary Finance should attend next meeting, which would be held today (Tuesday).