ISLAMABAD - Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Pasha on Thursday told the Sub-Committee of National Assembly on Finance that the tax collecting body has written a letter to the United Arab Emirates seeking details of 100 Pakistanis who have invested in real estate business in Dubai.    

He said that the FBR had received a list of 100 Pakistanis from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) who had invested in real estate business in Dubai. “The list has been now sent to the UAE authorities seeking details of the Pakistani investors,” he told the sub-committee meeting chaired by Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal.

The sub-committee is investigating the issue of Pakistanis who have invested $8 billion in the UAE real estate without getting approval from the State Bank of Pakistan.

Pasha further said that the FBR could not take information about the Pakistanis who have invested in other countries.

Later, the main committee, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, which met under the chair of Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, also discussed the issue pertaining to the investment in the UAE real estate by the Pakistanis .

The committee chairman criticised the role of the FBR in this regard. “It was the responsibility of the FBR , and not the FIA, to investigate the issue,” he said.  The committee members noted that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be tasked to get the information about several Pakistanis who have invested $8 billion in Dubai’s real estate.  They said that the NAB could get information from any country according to its law. Committee member Asad Umad said that the NAB should get the information about Pakistani investors as it did in the case of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. 

Later, the committee decided that the matter would be discussed after the sub-committee finalized its report.

The committee also discussed issues pertaining to investment in the domestic real estate sector and actions taken by the FBR in this regard. The committee was of the view that the FBR should remove the upper limit cap imposed under the Income Tax Act, 2016. The committee recommended that the FBR should allow the real estate sector for a declaration of the actual price of the land. The committee members were of the opinion that the said measures will eliminate the chances of corruption. Qaiser Sheikh endorsed the viewpoint of the committee.  The committee also directed the FBR to convene a meeting with real estate stakeholders to resolve the issue.

The committee also discussed “Eradication of Riba Bill, 2015” moved by MNA Sher Akbar Khan and directed the Ministry of Finance to provide details regarding the measures taken by the government for eradicating interest from the banking sector. The committee recommended to the SBP for expediting the matter to eliminate the interest in the banking sector as early as possible.

The committee also considered “The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Private Money Lending Bill, 2017” moved by MNA Sajid Nawaz and disapproved the bill, however, the Ministry of Finance assured that a government bill on the matter would be introduced shortly.

While considering “The Controller General of Accounts (Appointments, Functions and Powers) (Amendment) Bill, 2017” moved by MNA Asad Umar, additional secretary Ministry of Finance informed the committee that the same bill was already under consideration in the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and the committee has recommended that all departments concerned will complete their work till January 2018.

The meeting was also attended by MNAs Khalida Mansoor, Syed Mustafa Mehmud, Dr Nafisa Shah, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Abdul Rashid Godil, Sajid Nawaz and senior officers from the finance ministry, the FBR , and the SBP.