ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday recommended the government to impose uniform custom duty on the imported fruits and vegetables.

The committee, which met under the chair of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, took the decision after discussing the custom duty on the import of various vegetables and fruits. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan informed the committee that government imposed 20 percent custom duty on imported fruits to protect the local farmers. However, there is no duty on the import of vegetables, he added.

He further informed that custom duty is only 10 percent on import from Afghanistan. The committee members asked the government to eliminate the discriminatory duties on the imported vegetables and fruits by imposing uniform custom duty. Senator Talha Mahmood recommended imposing 15 percent custom duty. Chairman FBR said that they would honor the parliament decision, if it wants to amend the law.

The committee also discussed the issue of Saint James Hotel and Club. Chairman FBR informed the committee that they are investigations the matter and would finalize the report within three months period. He further informed that Singapore based company has purchased the hotel, which has the shares of many people. The committee decided to discuss the matter after FBR completes its investigation.

The committee took up the agenda of investigation of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB). The officials of National Accountability Bureau informed the committee that NAB has completed 70-75 percent investigation of the case. However, they could not share the details until 100 percent investigation does not complete.

The committee was informed that FBR had collected Rs180 billion as custom duty during (July-December) of the ongoing financial year as against Rs135.3 billion collected in the corresponding period of the previous year showing growth of 32.6 percent. The tax collection from custom duty has improved due to the elimination of SROs.