The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill (2021) introduced by Senator Mohsin Aziz was passed with amendments in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs held on Wednesday at Parliament House. The Bill seeks to rectify unjustified and inequitable credit lending that has been the long standing demand of smaller provinces. The bill will ensure that minimum credit/lending of commercial banks to the private sector for establishing industry and commercial activities in smaller provinces is at par with those provinces total deposits.
Chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, the meeting was attended by Leader of the House, Senator Shehzad Waseem, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Musadik Masood Malik, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, enator Dilawar Khan, Senator Danesh Kumar and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan along with all concerned.
Deliberating over Point of Public Importance regarding Maintenance of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) Account of Parliamentarians SBP raised by Senator Danesh Kumar, the Committee was informed that no restrictions have been imposed regarding opening accounts for PEPs. However, there are certain measures that Banks need to take in this regard; that include obtaining approval from senior management, justify sources of wealth and funds. In addition there are numerous tedious procedures to identify PEPs and their close kin that hinder progress in important matters that are a source of continuous stress. Members of the Committee demanded for these requirements to be withdrawn immediately and a compliance report to be submitted within five days.
The Committee pended the matter of placement of Gurr and sugar in the same category in customs clearance leading to hurdles for farmers and exporters raised by Senator Fida Muhammad. Directives were given for more details on the matter that are to be submitted to the Committee in the next meeting.
Discussing the issue of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) on the Finance supplementary Bill and its impact on the availability of medicines and the pharmaceutical Industry; the Committee asked for more details on price change before and after the budget and details of cases in which sales tax had been reimbursed within 24 hours. FBR and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) have been summoned in the next meeting.
Reviewing the matter of problems faced by Pakistan’s exporters to Afghanistan due to the letter issued on 7th December, 2021; the Committee was of the view that a robust framework must be formulated to ensure that trade between the two countries does not dwindle. Some members suggested that the letter issued on 7th December, 2021 must be withdrawn to reinstate matters.