ISLAMABAD          -          A parliamentary committee on Thursday has decided not to approve any government bill in the absence of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. 

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue under the chairmanship of MNA Faiz Ullah has decided that all government bills would be considered in the meeting, when Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance will brief the Committee.

While discussing the matter regarding embezzlement scam recently occurred in Customs and actions taken by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) FBR Acting Chairperson Nosheen Javed apprised the Committee about the said scam.

She informed that Intelligence & Investigation (Customs) Islamabad Director General sent four special reports which have highlighted several issues with respect to clearance at Torkham.

She added that FBR has constituted a “Joint Investigation Team” comprising of Collector MCC (Appraisement & Investigation-Customs) Regional Office Peshawar to conduct thorough investigation into the matter and will submit its report, further action will be taken on receipt of report of JIT.

The Committee decided that Director General Customs Intelligence and members of the Committee may be called after one month for further discussion in this regard.

The Committee discussed “The Pakistan Coinage (Amendment) Bill, 2019”.  The Committee unanimously recommended that the said Bill may not be passed by the National Assembly.

The Committee discussed the Calling Attention No. 18 regarding deduction of 5% 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 Housing and Ministry of Finance to convene an exclusive meeting with Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, Mover of the said calling attention for concrete solution of the issue.

The Committee discussed the matter pertaining to disbursement of loans to SME sector in Pakistan by the commercial banks and policies of State Bank of Pakistan, in this regard State Bank of Pakistan senior Director Mr. Irfan Ali briefed the Committee about the Policy defined by the SBP, for Promoting SME sector he said that SBP of Pakistan has taken certain measures in this regard, the Policy has nine pillars which include improving regulatory framework, up-scaling of micro finance banks, risk mitigation strategy, simplified procedures for SME financing, program based lending & value chain financing, capacity building & awareness creation, handholding of SMEs, leveraging technology for promotion of SME finance and simplification of taxation regime.

The Committee noted that Government should review its policy on SME sector at the earliest because this sector is considered as back bone of the economy, the senior representatives from Commercial Banks (UBL, ABL, BOP and Al-Falah) were also present in the meeting. They have expressed their policies with regard to SME sector.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Mr. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr. Faheem Khan, Mr. Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Mr. Ali Perviz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Mr. Muhammad Israr Tareen, Mr. Abdul Wasay, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, and Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, MNAs/movers of the Bill/Calling Attention besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs, FBR, State Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Law & Justice.