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Event Title: Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2022-11-11

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held on Friday at Parliament House.  Chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, the meeting was attended by Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Hidayatullah and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) along with all concerned.  Senator Kamran Murtaza and Senator Fida Muhammad attended the meeting while pursuing motions and points of Public importance   that were deliberated over by the Committee.  Minister for State for Finance and Revenue, Ms. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha was present as well.

The meetings commenced with a detailed discussion on the harassment felt by law abiding, tax paying citizens of Pakistan due to loopholes in the online system that was introduced to facilitate filing of tax returns.  Senator Kamil Ali Agha narrated the case of him being issued notice 111, which is the final notice after which no remedy is available.  He urged the Committee to look into the matter and ensure that these tactics wielded by the FBR are curbed. He shared details of his online tax returns with the Committee that were filed before the deadline.  

Discussing the plight of tobacco growers and local cigarette manufacturers in Khyber Pakhtukhwa the Committee was of the view that there has to be a difference while taxing local manufacturers.  It was asserted not taking immediate measure to address the issue was tantamount to stifling the Industry. The Committee asserted that policies may be reviewed in this regard and solution be sought at the earliest.  Minister for State for Finance and Revenue, Ms. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha assured the Committee of the Ministry’s support and said that all out efforts will be made to ensure that matters take the right course.  
Reviewing the Point of Public Importance raised by Senator Kamran Murtaza regarding the termination of employees on daily wages recruited by Customs Employees in Balochistan, The Committee took serious notice of the issue and raised questions regarding minimum wage. The Committee directed the Customs Department to share all details of the employees with the Committee and said that this was a violation of the quota system as well.  The matter was deferred until details are submitted.  

Discussing the Point of Public Importance raised by Senator Fida Muhammad regarding opening of LCs at appreciated rates and the issues faced by traders in this regards, the Committee was of the view that strict notice must be taken against banks that fall in this category. It was asserted that their licences must also be revoked. Chairman Committee, Senator Saleem Mandviwala informed members that the Committee has raised the matter numerous times in previous meetings and as a result an inquiry is being conducted by SBP to address grievances.  It was asserted that the matter was termed a result of the dollar hike in Pakistan and an adverse trade shock.  Once enquiry is complete a compliance report will be submitted to the Committee.

While taking up the matter of issues related to import of vintage cars in Pakistan the Committee was of the view that unnecessary restrictions in this regard are uncalled for and efforts must be made to facilitate this trade. The Committee was informed that there were no restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Finance and Revenue in this regard.   The matter pertained to the Ministry of Commerce.  

Discussing details of Containers stuck at Port Qasim due to Customs; the Committee stressed the need for all backlog to cleared at the earliest. It was asserted that a more humane attitude towards demurrages must be held so that traders are facilitated.  The Committee was assured that the Customs has already given a 40 percent waver in demurrage charges that is sure to facilitate the clearance process.  The Committee directed the Ministry to formulate a committee to probe the matter in detail and submit a compliance report once the enquiry is completed.