The Senate body deliberated on refusal of LCs to Pharmaceutical industry. Malik Arshad, President Pharmaceutical Association, apprised the committee that Pharmaceutical industry worth approximately 6 Billion dollars and its reliance on import is around 93 pc but several national banks have refused issuing of LCs to industry. Senator Mohsin Aziz claimed that banks are hesitant even to open LCs worth 500 dollar. He further added difference regarding dollar value in open market and State Bank is major reason behind the decline of remittances inflow and boosting smuggling of dollars on the other hand.State Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, stated that "This is an extraordinary situation and country is facing severe crisis and it is primarily owing to Global Inflation which can be seen worldwide". Moreover, keeping in view the current scenario the Government has prioritised few industries for issuance of LCs which includes Pharmaceutical sector, Agriculture sector and the industries which are involved in manufacturing of basic necessities items, she added. However, Dr. Aisha Ghaus also ruled out default possibilty reiterating that government is aware of current situation and is working vigorously to cope up with it. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla opined that delay in issuing of LCs can be seen but Government has not refused issuance of LCs to Pharmaceutical industry. He directed the President Pharmaceutical Association to provide details of all delayed LCs to the committee so that they could be processed up speedily. The committee also decided to conduct a special meeting to discuss the unsual economic condition of the country.
Discussing the current status of Exim Bank, CEO Exim Bank informed that bank could not start its operation mainly because the Notification from Cabinet is awaited , Equity worth Rs. 1 Billion did not released and clearance from PEPRA has not received yet. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla questioned as to why the clearance from PEPRA is needed and is all banks currently operating in the country has acquired clearance from PEPRA. He directed the ministry to speed up the process of notification, which is to be issued by Cabinet, provide Rs. 1 Billion to bank in lieu of equity and also decided to invite PEPRA in next meeting to address the ambiguous issue of required clearance.
Moreover, the committee deferred the matter relating to amendments in Custom Act 1969 owing to absence of Representation from Good Forwarding Association, Rawalpindi. However, as to matter of waiving off the outstanding dues of Federal Excise duty against the industrial undertakings of erstwhile FATA. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla directed the ministry and officials of FBR to hold in person meeting with representatives of erstwhile FATA industrialists for addressal of issue.
Furthermore, the senate committee also discussed the matter raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed relating to closure of borders for transportation at Lower Dir, Banjaur and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan. Mukarram Jah, Member Custom Operations, apprised the committee that terminal point at 'Angoor Adda' was closed down for few days due to intrusion from private individual but however it has been restored. He further added that ministry is also in negotiations with National Logistics Cell for upgradation of infrastructure at 'Angoor Adda'. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed also suggested that terminal points located at Mubarak Shahi and Nawa Pass shall also be made functional. The Chairman Committee also recommended the officials to take immediate measures in order to make these crossing points safer and functional for general masses.
The meeting was attended by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek,Senator Saadia Abbasi,Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar,Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed,Senator Zeeshan Khanzada,State Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Additional Secretary Finance Amjad Mahmood, Executive Director SBP Arshad M. Bhatti,Member Custom Operation Mukarram Jah, President Pharmaceutical Association, CEO Exim Bank and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance.