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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the sub-committee of the Public Account Committee (PAC) has asked the Finance Ministry and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to reconcile whether finance minister laid a statement with regard to not retiring Rs259.250 billion in March 2012.

The sub-committee meeting presided over by Syed Naveed Qamar, while taking up the audit paras of the SBP was informed by audit officials that the SBP Act, as amended on March 13, 2012, requires that the federal government borrowing from the banks would be brought to zero.

The meeting was further informed that during the audit of account of the SBP for the year 2011-12, it was observed that the management granted borrowing of Rs259.25 billion in March 2012 to the federal government but the same could not be recovered till the finalisation of this report.

Upon this, the SBP official said that the law requires from the finance minister to lay a statement in the parliament, if the federal government does not retire borrowing at the end of each quarter. He further stated that as per his understanding, the finance minister has not yet laid a statement in this regard in the parliament.

However, a senior official of the Finance Ministry stated that the statement was placed before the parliament to this effect along with the annual budget statement. The chairman of the meeting directed the Finance Ministry and the SBP to reconcile their statements in the departmental account committee and then come to the PAC for settlement of the para.

An audit para regarding irregular amalgamation of KASB Bank with Bank Islami Limited was put off by the committee with directives for further details from the regulator.

The meeting also pended an audit para regarding loss of Rs435 million due to grant of loan to Bank Islami at a nominal rate. The PAC refused to settle audit para of Rs84 million with respect to irregular payment on call centre service in 2011-12 with adhering to Public Procurement Rules, 2004.

Naveed Qamar said that law does not allow violation of the PPRA rules to any one whether he is a prime minister, finance minister or governor SBP, so the committee cannot settle it unless it was settled by the relevant department.

The meeting deferred other briefs related to audit of other departments on the agenda due to the National Assembly session, wherein, supplementary finance bill was tabled by the finance minister.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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