Islamabad, 18 February, 2022:- The Banking Companies Amendment Bill (2021) was passed with amendments in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs held on Friday at Parliament House.
Chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, the meeting was attended by Leader of the House, Senator Shehzad Waseem, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Senator Musadik Masood Malik, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Haji Hidayat Ullah and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) (State Bank, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, along with all concerned.
The Committee took up public petitions regarding registration of furniture shops as tier-1 retailers under the Sales Tax Act 1990 and review of valuation of immovable property. The complainants asserted that reforms such as these would surely affect business and growth adversely. Members of the Pakistan Furniture Association pointed out that it had requested the Government to remove the condition of covered area, it however, enhanced the covered area from 1000 Sq ft to 2000 Sq ft. As a result of which some shops have been excluded from the tax zone and some have been taxed heavily. The Furniture Association stressed that it was imperative that furniture shops have vast display areas and therefore huge space is prerequisite. Since furniture shops have dividers and sections to look like separate shops instead of one, the need of such restrictions was questioned. Members of the Committee asserted that the Government must take measures to ensure that SMEs thrive rather than stifling its growth. Directions were given to FBR to sit together with members of the Pakistan Furniture Association and sort matters after which the issue will be taken up the Committee at a later date. Regarding the review of valuation of immovable property the Real Estates Consultants Association RECA, DHA Islamabad –Rawalpindi were of the view that this move would stifle the Real Estate business in Pakistan. It asserted that nowhere in the world can two bodies of the Government determine the value of a single property. FBR asserted that this move was essential in wake of the fact that real property value is not declared. The Committee after listening to both sides directed was of the view that valuation of immovable property may be linked with the Financial Year with increase to mitigate inflationary impact. It was asserted that the Deputy Commissioner of the area must be involved in the process.
Discussing the issues related to Pakistani exporters to Afghanistan, the Committee reviewed the matter in detail and explored possibilities to resolve it. It was asserted that due unrest in the region, banking channels were unavailable and hence recommendations were made to commence barter trade or use the Foreign Currency Cash system to resume trade activities. The Committee directed that i-form must be suspended until conditions normalize. While discussing the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Committee was briefed about its salient features that would lead to major reforms in the Commission. The Committee was informed that the Bill sought to enhance transparency in appointments and strengthen the code of conduct. It would provide clarity in roles and ensure representation of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Bill, will be discussed in greater detail in the next meeting.