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Senate panel seeks working paper on taxes in Gwadar

September 09, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In order to avoid bypassing oversight of the Parliament, Senator Sherry Rehman on Tuesday proposed a constitutional amendment for seeking prior approval of Parliament for granting nod on...

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ISLAMABAD: In order to avoid bypassing oversight of the Parliament, Senator Sherry Rehman on Tuesday proposed a constitutional amendment for seeking prior approval of Parliament for granting nod on all kinds of supplementary grants for utilisation of multibillion rupees funds.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenues also decided to summon State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor in its next meeting for briefing the senators regarding deposit to debt ratio on the basis of each district of the country to ascertain how much funds were collected by the commercial banks and how much they were lending in the same area.

The committee also sought working paper from the FBR about taxes in Gwadar. Senator Mohsin Aziz from ruling PTI disclosed that only 1.85 percent lending was provided into KP out of total disbursed loan amounts by all commercial banks on per annum basis.

The Senate panel also sought details about provincial quota in context of Balochistan in federal government and reasons for complying with quota requirements. The Senate panel also discussed proposal to abolish Federal Excise Duty (FED) on merged districts of Fata into KP.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenues which met under Chairmanship of Senator Farooq H Naek here at the Parliament House on Tuesday witnessed an interesting situation when ruling party Senator Mohsin Aziz proposed more stringent measures for ensuring oversight of Parliament on the issue of supplementary grants when he asked for introduction of money bill instead of passion resolution for seeking prior approval of National Assembly for supplementary grants.

The Ministry of Finance high-ups made all out efforts for convincing the senators to drop this proposed constitutional amendment into Article 84 of the 1973 Constitution. The Ministry of Finance high-ups told this scribe that with such proposed changes the running of the government would become impossible so they would meet the mover to convince that the affairs of the government could not run with these drastic changes.

Special Secretary Finance Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna told the committee that there were different kinds of supplementary grants as through technical grants the savings from one department was diverted to another one for meeting its requirements. There could be over 200 adjustments through technical grants so how it would be possible to seek prior approval in such number of huge cases.

However, Senator Sherry Rehman argued that the supplementary grants were Rs220 billion in 2018-19 and Rs20 billion in 2019-20. It shows floppy budget-making process where the Parliament is being bypassed, she added.

Senator Musadiq Malik said that the parliamentary oversight was good step then why the Ministry of Finance was reluctant to move ahead with more transparency. Senator Mohsin Aziz proposed to include emergency and needs to allow the government for utilising of funds without seeking approval of Parliament. However, Senator Sherry Rehman and Musadiq Malik sternly opposed inclusion of needs into it saying that the whole purpose of the proposed changes would dilute with such inclusion.

Finally, the Chairman of Senate Committee Senator Farooq H Naek said that these changes would have far reaching impact so he decided to defer this issue and directed the Ministry of Finance to come up with detailed working paper in next 15 days.

The Senate panel took up issue of FED into merged districts of Fata into KP and the mover Mirza Mohammad Afridi said that the FED was imposed in 1944 and at time of merger the exemption of all taxes were committed for five years up to 2023. However, the government granted exemption of income tax and sales tax but slapped FED on industries located into Fata area. Out of 51 units, 44 industrial units were closed down into Fata area.

The Senate panel sought details from FBR about quantum of production and contribution made by these industrial into national kitty through payment of duty and taxes


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