The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce headed by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada on Thursday ratified “The Trade Organization (Amendment) Bill, 2021”, moved by Senator Fawzia Arshad. Regarding the matter referred by the Honorable Chairman Senate “ Not allowing the dry fruit importer and exporter association to trade with Asia via Land route, the chairman of the committee was of the view that the matter was also under discussion in the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. Once the discussion on the course is finalized, the issue would then be further probed in the commerce committee meeting for necessary actions.
The committee met here at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada.
A detailed discussion was held on the issue regarding the non-provision of permits to All Pakistan Dry Fruit Importers and Exporters Association to trade with Asia through Land Route referred by the Chairman Senate. President All Pakistan Dry Fruit Importer and Exporter Association briefed the committee on the prevailing issues faced by the association. He said that the Department of Plant Protection does not issue permits for land trade. He lamented that NOC was issued for Karachi but not for Balochistan. He apprised that the DG of the Plant Protection department had not been appointed for 4 months and the director of the department do not issue permits. Such attitude of the department is affecting trade with Iran, the association president observed. He recommended that the DG plant protection be appointed immediately having an office in Islamabad. The Additional Secretary of Commerce called for launching an online app to get the association and other affectees off the hook. Senator Saleem Mandviwala said that the department of plant protection was wrecking the trade. The Plant Protection Department also disrupted the import of cotton. Goods that come from the third countries; SBP and Commerce have no objection but the plant protection department keeps interfering and disrupting the trade. The chairman of the committee said that it was an important issue and needs to be addressed at the earliest. He assured the association of his unflinching support in the matter.
Detailed discussion was held on the bill moved by Senator Fawzia Arshad “The Trade organization (amendment) bill, 2021 referred by the House in its sitting held on 27th September 2021. As per the proposed amendment bill “ the current tenure of the office bearers of all trade organisations is one year, which is too short to serve the organisation by the chosen representative in an efficient manner.....An increase in the tenure of office-bearers to two years would improve policy continuity within trade organisations and allow office bearers sufficient time to initiate and complete projects for the welfare of trade in Pakistan”.
Discussing the bill, FPCCI officials told the committee that under the proposed amendment in the bill, there would be a president from each province who would be elected every two years ( earlier the tenure was one year). Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Afridi said that Punjab and Sindh have reduced their one term which is commendable. While welcoming the proposed bill, he said that equal representation was being given to all the provinces in the bill. The committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Zeeahan Khanzada, after a detailed and prolonged discussion passed the bill. Senator Nuzhat Sadiq while opposing the bill called for further discussion on the bill. She noted that more associations on the matter should be taken onboard for taking their insight on the proposed bill. Representative of the Peshawar chamber also obstructed the bill. The chairman committee was informed that tough both of its representatives of Sarhad and Islamabad Chambers opposed the bill, but according to the information provided by president FPCCI, the executive members of both these chambers had already unanimously supported this amendment at an executive committee meeting of the federation which was held in September 2020.
Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Mohammad Afridi, Senator Fida Mohammad, Senator Saleem Mandvi Walla, Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir attended the committee meeting while Senator Fawzia Arshad participated as a mover. Officials of FPCCI, President Lahore Chamber, President Quetta Chamber, President Karachi Chamber, representatives of Peshawar Chamber and other officials of the concerned department also attended the meeting.