ISLAMABAD-The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has expressed displeasure over the absence of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and reiterated that Legislative Business (Government Bills) will not be considered without his attendance. The committee members belonged to opposition parties said that they would move privilege motion again the Adviser due to his continuous absence from the committee’s meetings. Lawmakers of treasury benches also supported the proposal of moving privilege motion against Hafeez Shaikh. Later, the committee has decided that Legislative Business (Government Bills) will not be considered without the attendance of the Advisor for Finance in the Committee meeting. The committee has also expressed its displeasure on the absence of Secretary Finance, President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and representative from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and directed the Secretary Committee for issuance of displeasure note to all concerned.

The Meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was under the chairmanship of MNA Faiz Ullah. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Javed Ghani briefed the Committee about the scam occurred at Torkham Border. He said that Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had submitted its report on 18th May, 2020 and their major findings were pertaining to 113 identified vehicles which cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan wherein neither goods declaration not record for deposit of leviable duties/taxes were found, accordingly criminal cases/FIR were lodged against the culprits. He said that initially it was reported that 441 trucks had entered Pakistan without paying taxes. However, later, it was investigated that 113 vehicles which cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan without paying duties.

Committee chairman noted that around 900 vehicles had entered into Pakistan without paying taxes and duties in connivance with the officials of customs. He said that FBR should investigate the matter through CCTV cameras installed at Torkham Border. After detailed discussion the Committee noted that delay to finalise the report in this respect would be against the prevailing of justice. The Chairman assured the Committee that report on the subject matter would be concluded in a month time. The Committee also identified the administrative loopholes and procedures adopted by the custom authorities at Torkham Border. The Committee directed the FBR to share the details regarding the officers and officials involved in the said scam including the actions taken by the FBR against them. Member (Inland Revenue) Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed briefed the Committee about the fire incident occurred in Faisalabad RTO Office. The Committee directed that Legal Action against the culprits should be accelerated. The Chairman of the Committee appreciated the role of Islamabad RTO Office Chief Commissioner.

The Committee expressed its displeasure on the examination of valuation, rulings and procedures adopted by the Custom Authorities. Some Members of the Committee were of the grave concern about the role of Director Valuation. Custom Director Valuation Mr. Shafiq Ahmed Latki explained his position for determining of valuation. However, the Committee directed the Chairman FBR to look into the complaints received with regard to valuation and ruling issued by the Director Valuation. The Committee also referred the matter to the Sub-Committee already appointed under the Convenership of MNA Mr. Faheem Khan.

The Committee discussed the Calling Attention No.18 regarding deduction of 5 per cent maintenance allowance from the salaries of the Federal Government employees working in BPS-6 to BPS-15. (Moved by MNA Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan). The Committee directed the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing and Works and Ministry of Interior to coordinate with the Mover for resolving the matter at the earliest.

The meeting was attended by MNAs, Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Mr. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr. Faheem Khan, Mr. Aftab Hussain Siddique, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Mr. Ali Perviz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar and Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, MNAs were attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers from M/o Finance and Revenue, Law and Justice, Federal Board of Revenue and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).