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Event Title: Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat at Parliament House.

Event Date: 2023-04-12

The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday while taking up the bill on the Tosha Khana (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2022 directed the Addl. Secretary Cabinet Division to give briefing and report on the finality of the bill, otherwise the committee will pass the bill without further delay. It was informed that the proposed Tosha khana Bill was considered by CCLC on 6-04-2023, whereupon members of the committee suggested some changes in the Bill. It was apprised that after incorporation of these changes by the law Division, the draft Bill shall be presented to the Cabinet for seeking approval to place it before the Parliament. The new Tosha khana Procedure for Acceptance and Disposal of Gifts, 2023 was also tabled in the Committee which included that Cabinet Division will get the value of the gifts assessed from government sector experts in FBR. Cabinet Division will also get the value of gifts assessed by the private appraisers borne on its approved panel. The weapons will be assessed by experts of Pakistan Ordinance Factories wah instead of FBR. The private appraisers will be paid 5 pc of the evaluation cost of each gift or 5000 rps whichever is less. It was also included that gifts exceeding monetary limit up to USD 300 shall straight away become state / Tosha khana property to be deposited and disposed of according to Tosha khana procedure. This exemption, it included shall however not be available in case of antiques and gifts of intrinsic historical value; it was also included that gifts which cannot be retained, donated or displayed shall be disposed of by periodical sales to general public,to be arranged by Cabinet Division. Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad said that according to the bill drafted no one will be enabled to take free gifts from the government treasury, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi was of the view that expensive gifts should not be received from foreign countries which allows us further to do corruption and illegal acts. The matter was deferred for finality in the next meeting with the direction of the chair that no further delays on the subject matter should be made and all recommendations on the Tosha Khana Bill are directed to be submitted to the Standing Committee after Eid.

Briefing by the Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NAPHDA) on the working and performance of the NAPHDA was also taken up. It was briefed that around 2 million people applied for Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, 9 lakh 26 thousand 288 applicants were placed in category one (Priority 1). In Naya Pakistan Housing Programme 1 lakh 68 thousand 224 houses were approved for construction by provinces /  government departments / private entities. So far 53 thousand 60 houses have been completed and 27 thousand 819 houses are under construction. The estimated cost of construction is 306 billion rupees. Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Chairman Major General Amer Aslam Khan (Retd) briefed the committee that according to the constitution, all governments made arrangements to build houses for citizens of the country. After establishment of the Authority in one and a half years, 28,298 houses have been completed and 13,157 houses are under construction  (total 41,455). He further said that the State Bank of Pakistan has put the disbursement under government markup subsidy scheme on hold wef 1 July 2022 because of the economic situation of the country. No proposal from any development authority in Sindh has been received to participant in the programme . More so, no land for peri urban scheme has been offered by Sindh government ’ stated, chairman Major General  Amer Aslam Khan (Retd) and said that the Sindh government has not shared state land data for  digitization with SurveyofPakistan. He further apprised that the authority acts as a coordinator and all the contractual obligations of projects are done by the relevant authorities

Standing Committee directs authority to ensure that only deserving individuals through a transparent mechanism are selected for construction of houses and said that we want deserving people to get housing  facilities. The Committee directs to carry out reevaluation of the categorization criteria for selection of candidates and do some  sample reconfirmation of the selected  beneficiaries.  Result be shared with the committee. The chairman committee lauded the working and performance of the NAPHDA and the committee assured to extend its full support in the future endeavors of the program.

The Bill titled “The Civil servants (amendment ) Bill, 2023” introduced by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Senator Hidayat Ullah, Senator Zeeshan Khan Zada and Senator Dilawar Khan in the Senate sitting was deferred, with the directions to hold meeting with the Establishment, the Senate Secretariat and  the Law Division and remove the discrepancies as discussed in the last meeting on the matter of separation of powers of the President and that of the autonomous powers of the Chairman of the Senate and Speaker of the National Assembly be limitized, similarly the secretary FPSC requested to make part the FPSC in the consultation meetings keeping in view matter of direct recruitment to a post in BPS -17 through Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), since both the revolve around the same issue. The Chairman committee commented that the matter of recruitment of the senate employee from grade 17 is admitted however the matter may be clubbed with the consultation session and remove the nitty-gritties. The chairman committee deferred the matter till the next meeting.

 Detailed presentation by the Chairman OGRA on the incident of LPG cylinders blasts in the country was also taken up. The chairman committee recommended holding meetings with the ministry of interior and finalizing the amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code of criminal procedure on the substandard manufacturing of LPG cylinders and illegal gas filling. The chairman OGRA also briefed the committee on the enforcement activities in LPG supply Chain. The matter was deferred for further report.  

The meeting was attended by Senator Kamil Ali Khan, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi and Senator Hidayat Ullah. Special Secretariat Establishment, Secretariat FPSC, Chairman NEPRA, Chairman OGRA and senior officials from the Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Law and Justice also attended the meeting.