Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Saleem Mandviwalla in Chair.
The Senate Committee deliberated on high interest and its impact on business community. Senator Zeeshan Khanzada remarked that the unreasonable increase in interest has made it difficult for businesses to sustain, let alone growth. Deputy Governor SBP, Dr. Inayat Hussain, apprised that the interest rate has been increased to control the rising inflation and it has bear significant result in past few months. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla posed a question as to how the interest can be effective in controlling the growing inflation and directed the SBP to provide a comprehensive report in this regard.
The Committee was briefed on difficulties confronted by Political exposed persons (PEP) in availing the financial services. Deputy Governor SBP stated that the system is in place wherein a focal person has been deputed in every branch to sort such issues, however, the system has failed to provide desirable results due to unknown reasons. The Committee recommended to senstize all banks to make functional the dedicated PEP officers in all commercial banks, designated on the direction of this committee earlier.
Moreover, the Senate body discussed the causes of reported low scores of Pakistan's banks in terms of their human rights policies. Representatives from Fair Finance Pakistan emphasized that Fair Finance is committed to ensured that financial institutions in Pakistan prioritize the social and environmental welfare of local communities. They highlighted the need for Pakistan to embrace a Green Banking policy that incorporates environmental and social concerns into financial operations. The Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) mentioned that SBP is making dedicated efforts to align with international standards, aiming to improve the well-being of individuals.
While deliberating on massive money laundering by solar panel importers, Member Customs apprised that seven companies have been identified who were involved in money laundering and six FIRs have also been registered against them.
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla remarked that Solar panel importers have succeeded in laundering 69 Billion Rupees in last five years but the FBR didn't notice any suspicion and above all 25 Billion rupees were deposited in two different accounts without facing any queries. He directed the FBR to conduct an inquiry of matter and submit it's report before the committee.
The Committee also taken up the matter raised by Senator Hilal ur Rehman regarding the non payment of compensation to the affectees of Mohmand Dam. Officials informed that payment has been made to the affectees and any increase in compensation amount could only be done through the Courts.
Furthermore, the senate committee has taken up the matter of reportedly Rs. 5 billion fraud in Bank Al-Habib Faisalabad. Dr. Inayat Hussain, Deputy Governor SBP, apprised that the incident resulted due to uncertain mutual trust between the bank officials and the aggrieved party, which forced the aggrieved party to perform their transactions outside the place of business. The SBP is in coordination with both the parties and the matter will be resolved soon. The Committee directed the SBP to start an awareness campaign stating that " Don't Transactions with Banks outside the Banks" so that's any future incidents could be avoided.
Additionally, the committee was briefed on Deposit Protection Management. Deputy Governor SBP mentioned that deposit upto Rs. 500,000 is protected by Deposit Protection Corporation and around 94 pc of the depositors fall under this category. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla question as the deposit is being protected by SBP or not. In reply to that, Dr. Inayat Hussain stated that deposit is being protected by Deposit Protection Corporation a wholly owned subsidiary of SBP. He further added that not depositor has lost their money in the financial history of the country.
The meeting was attended by Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari, Additional Secretary Finance Division, Deputy Governor SBP Dr. Inayat Hussain,Member Customs and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance.