ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance Thursday approved the Export-Import Bank of Pakistan (EXIMBP) Bill, 2021 with the directions to share its business plan with the committee. The meeting of the NA Standing Committee on Finance was held at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Headquarters.

Irfan Bukhari, chief executive officer (CEO) EXIMBP gave a detailed presentation to the committee on the vision and bank’s future plans.

The CEO, EXIM Bank, briefed the committee regarding the bank. He informed that the EXIM Bank of Pakistan has been declared as Development Financial Institution, under section 3A of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 (LVII of 1962).

The bank has been designated as the official Export Credit Agency of the country to be formed through an Act of the Parliament.

The management is targeting to initiate commercial operation in the first quarter of 2022, subject to approval of the Act and issuance of “Letter of Commencement of Operations” from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The bill titled, The Export-Import Bank of Pakistan Bill, 2021 (government bill) was presented before the Committee and after detailed discussion the committee recommended that the bill may be passed by the National Assembly.

The EXIMBP CEO further informed that the vision of the bank is to contribute towards positive trade balance of Pakistan, as the bank is the strongest pillar for export growth in an economy.

The objective of the EXIM Bank is to support exporters with facilities such as export credit guarantees, financing for working capital and capital goods, project financing together with bid bonds, etc.

Govt approves Export-Import Bank of Pakistan Bill

To a query of MNA Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, the EXIMBP CEO stated that the bank will deal with both exports and imports.

About the operational readiness of the bank, the CEO EXIMBP stated that under Phase-I, the insurance products will come into the market. Under Phase-II, lending products will be issued and under Phase-III, Islamic products will be launched.

“We have sufficient amount of equity to start insurance business”, adding that the bank is ready to launch subject to the promulgation of the Act and commencement of business certification.

MNA Aisha Ghaus Pasha inquired about the business plan of the bank.

The CEO EXIMBP stated that the governance structure is in place and the banks strategic objective are aligned with the Pakistan export strategic plan (Strategic Trade Policy Framework).

Irfan Bukhari was confident that the bank will empower exporters to promote Pakistan as a brand and facilitate trade related investment to support market in Pakistan.

MNA Hina Rabbani Khar asked the CEO bank to share the organizational structure of the bank.

“We will have head office in Islamabad and regional offices in Karachi and Lahore”, the CEO EXIMBP maintained.

The EXIM Bank would serve as the national export credit agency for the promotion, expansion and diversification of international trade by providing, guarantee and insurance products as well as ancillary services to exporters and importers in terms of a statutory corporation that has the backing and support of the government as is customary for export credit agencies to achieve their desired potential and objectives, he added.

According to a brief submitted by the Commerce Ministry before the committee, in a recently approved Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2020-25, on the directions of the ECC of the Cabinet a timeline of two months was set for the operationalisation of the EXIM Bank by the Finance Division. The same was communicated to the Finance Division by the MoC with the request to initiate action for the operationalisation of the EXIMBP, it added.

The committee also considered the bill titled “The COVID-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Bill, 2020 (Ord III of 2020) (government bill)” and decided to deferred it till the next meeting. The bill titled, “The Modaraba Companies (Floatation and Operations) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (government bill)” was deferred till the next meeting of the committee, as requested by the concerned department.

The bill titled, “The State-owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations) Bill, 2021 (government bill)”, was presented before the committee. The committee decided to defer the bill till its next meeting. The bill titled, “The Tax Law (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Ord No XXII of 2021 (government bill)” was presented before the committee. The committee decided to defer the bill till its next meeting with the direction for the ministry to submit comparative statement on the bill, mentioning the requirements and justification by the ministry.

The committee considered the bill titled, “The Controller General of Accounts (Appointment, Functions and Powers) (Amendment) Bill, 2019” (moved by Sana Ullah Khan Masti Khel, MNA) and recommended that the bill may not be passed by the National Assembly.

The joint secretary (development) Finance Division briefed the committee regarding the budgetary proposals relating to the Public Sector Development Project (PSDP), concerning the Finance Division, for the financial year 2022-23.

The committee was informed that the PSDP included seven projects with six ongoing projects and one new project. Total funds demanded for the PSDP amount to Rs3,090.545 million out of which Rs1,878.254 million are for completing ongoing projects, while Rs1,212.291 million are demanded for new project. The committee desired detailed presentation, in the next meeting, on projects of the Finance Division and the Revenue Division involving heavy costs. The chairman of the committee directed the Finance Division and the Economic Affairs Division to give details of the amount spend on consultants and consultancy services under different international-funded projects. We want to know that how the consultancy services under foreign funded projects have helped the poor people of Pakistan and whether it benefited only few individuals who offered such services, he added.

Members/MNAs Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Amjad Ali Khan, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Abdul Wasay, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Hina Rabbani Khar, and the senior officers from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Commerce, FBR, Controller General Accounts, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, and the EXIM Bank attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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