ISLAMABAD                  -              The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Friday has deferred the discussion on government’s bill due to the absence of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shiekh.

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly was held under the chairmanship of Faiz Ullah, MNA. The committee while expressing displeasure over the absence of Hafeez Shaikh has decided not to discuss the government’s bills in protest. The committee on Thursday had already decided that it would not consider the government bills in the absence of Hafeez Shaikh who normally does not attend the meetings of parliamentary committees. The committee members noted that Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue is not giving importance to the parliamentary committee. They made it clear that no government’s bill would be discussed in the absence of Hafeez Shaikh.

Committee member, Ayesha Ghous Pasha said that the government did not present the half year report under the public finance management law. Regarding Pakistan-IMF talks, she was of the view that both sides have not reached on staff level agreement due to which both parties did not sign the pact on third tranche. Why IMF delayed the second quarter review report, reports are coming that both parties have deadlock on energy and tax issues. The Ministry of Finance officials informed that the six month report of public finance has been presented in the cabinet meeting, it would be presented in NA meeting soon. The budget strategy paper will be presented to cabinet till March 15. However, the ministry of finance denied discussing the details of Pakistan IMF talks. The officials informed that it could be discussed in next meetings.

The Committee discussed the PSDP 2020-21 and schemes of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The members have expressed their concerns over the proposed schemes by FBR. The Committee was of the stance that FBR proposed schemes were not supported to its vision for broadening of revenue system in the country. The committee also suggested to the government to include 200 to 300 projects in the public sector development program instead of 1200 and try to complete them within timeframe.

However, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Revenue clarified that separate program for tax reforms have already been initiated by the FBR to increase the Revenue. The Committee directed the FBR to prioritize their schemes before making the request to include the same in the Budget for Financial Year 2020-21.

While, the agenda pertaining to the issues being faced by textile exporters was discussed. Committee members were of the view that a Sub-Committee has already been appointed in this regard, therefore this matter may be pended till the final outcome of the Sub-Committee Stakeholders were also present in the meeting, the Committee requested them to present their issues in the meeting of the Sub-Committee, which will be held, shortly.

The Committee recommended the PSDP for financial year 2020-21 of Finance Division. The committee recommended that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) may be asked to provide their views about the future up-gradation of Pakistan Mint as per SBP requirements. However the Committee recommended that except the following ongoing schemes, those have already been recommended by the Standing Committee on Commerce in its meeting held on 25th February, 2020, all remaining schemes may be considered for allocation of funds in the next financial year 2020-21, as proposed by the Ministry. i. Expo Center Peshawar ii. Expo Center Quetta.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Ali Perviz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Raza Nasrullah, Abdul Wasay, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani and besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).