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National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance has expressed grave concern over loss of revenue as a result of rampant smuggling and wanted Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to prioritise projects to plug loopholes and enhance revenue mobilisation.
The meeting presided over by MNA Faiz Ullah was given a briefing by the Member (Administration), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on ongoing and new projects of FBR under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The members expressed concern over slow progress after the FBR official stated that so far only land has been acquired for setting up customs stations at Torkham and Chaman borders for integrated transit trade management system. The members stated that significant portion of revenue is lost through smuggling and the FBR should expedite the pace for implementation of the projects.
Member of the committee Syed Naveed Qamar stated that establishment of the customs offices at Torkham and Chaman borders are crucial for regional trade. The committee recommended to the Finance Division to make sure that full allocation for Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS) is released for early establishment of custom posts. The FBR officials informed the committee that a project is being proposed for inclusion in the PSDP for construction of 17 offices in different areas including the customs collectorate office at Hyderabad.
The committee members expressed their grave concern on the presentation made by the FBR and directed that revised list of prioritised projects may be furnished to secretary committee for onward submission to the members before making any recommendations on it.
The committee considered the remaining ongoing PSDP projects of the Finance Division falling in the administrative control of provinces and recommended for further necessary action as required under rule 201 (7) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
The chairman Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) briefed the committee about the mandate of the Commission. He said that SECP was set up in pursuance of SECP Act, 1997 and started its functions for managing the regulation of corporate sector, capital markets, supervision and regulations of insurance companies, non-banking finance companies and private schemes.
He briefed the committee about the structure of SECP Policy Board. He said that according to the SECP Act, 1997, the Policy Board shall consist of a maximum of eleven members appointed by the federal government, including five ex officio members and six from the private sector.
Chairman Committee Faiz Ullah expressed his concern over the problems being faced by general public owing to the measures taken by the State Life Insurance Company regarding abolishment of its fourth tier.
The chairman SECP suggested that State Life Insurance Company may be invited in the committee to discuss the said issue. The committee recommended that State Life Insurance management would be called in the meeting of the said committee and stakeholders will also be invited.
The chairman SECP apprised the committee of the public listed and public unlisted private companies, non-profit associations, trade organisations, foreign companies and limited liability partnership (LLP). He informed that currently 96,288 companies are registered in corporate sector.
He presented the details with regard to Islamic Finance Department, Investor Education Department and International Relation Department. He said that SECP has classified its way forward such as ease of doing business, image building, a firm of supervision and enforcement, and development of the capital.
While discussing the implementation regarding the FATF AML/CFT Standards within the SECP's regulated financial sector, the chairman of the SECP informed the committee, "We are doing considerable work for APG/IMF/World Bank for peer review and evaluation. The committee decided that a meeting would be called to discuss the performance of Funds Monitoring Unit (MFU).
The meeting was attended by MNAs Raza Nasrullah, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Nusrat Wahid, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Ali Pervaiz, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha and Syed Naveed Qamar, besides the senior officers of Ministry of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform and Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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