The government would be able to resolve the issue of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, while serious action would be taken against the officials who are involved in harassment of general public as well as businessmen in the name of anti-money laundering drive. An in-camera session of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance has been briefed on the Financial Action Task Force issue and the preparedness of Pakistan''s side for the upcoming meeting with FATF authorities scheduled for next month.
The committee was briefed by secretary finance, chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), executive officers of SBP, commissioner SECP and representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).
On the conclusion of the in-camera briefing on FATF issue, Chairman of the Finance Committee Faiz Ullah told media that the review report sent by the government to the FATF is satisfactory.
He said the government has yet not introduced the amnesty scheme. Therefore, there is no justification of concerns of the FATF on the scheme till its announcement. If any concern has been raised by the FATF on the amnesty scheme, it would be addressed. He hoped that the issue of grey list would be resolved, as the government is fully committed to resolving the issue. The seriousness of the issue is evident from the fact that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken three meetings on the FATF issue.
The government is taking steps to implement the conditions under the FATF. The committee is satisfied with the briefing of the government on FATF. In order to implement FATF conditions, the government has been actively engaged in taking administrative measures. Wherever legislation is required, it would be done on a top priority basis to resolve the issue of grey area.
He said that all political parties including PPP should give responsible statements on the issue of FATF.
When asked about unnecessary harassment and raids by FIA in the name of money laundering against businessmen, he said that the government has taken a very strong stance on this issue. The actual culprits would not be spared if the businessmen and general public are unnecessary harassed.
On the issue of Indian role in the FATF matter, he said that the Foreign Office is looking into the entire issue.
The government has issued instructions that nobody should be harassed during the implementation of the FATF conditionalities. The committee would soon start a review of the anti-money laundering bill to address its deficiencies, if any, he added.
The 11th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly was held on Wednesday here at FBR House under the chairmanship of MNA Faiz Ullah.
Briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Acting President/ CEO of the ZTBL Sheikh Aman Ullah said that the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited has entered into joint ventures with provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir for providing e-credit facilities to the small farmers.
Under the agreement signed with the AJK government, the ZTBL will finance 300 small dairy units with maximum lending limit of Rs 1 million.
Sheikh Aman Ullah said that the bank also wanted to sign an agreement with the Sindh government, but so far there has been no response from the provincial government.
To enhance subsidies for the agriculture sector, he said that in line with the e-credit scheme of the Punjab government, markup-free loans may be provided to small farmers and subsidy in markup may be borne by the federal government or respective provincial government.
He said that ZTBL has started online banking initiatives with the help of NIFT for digitisation of payments. The bank has launched its own debit and credit cards as alternate delivery channel. Around 200 ATM machines would be made operative under the banks'' online initiatives. Sheikh Aman Ullah added that the ZTBL would provide modern banking facilities to rural people. He said that the insurance for live stock loans is available under the livestock insurance scheme for borrowers. The crop life insurance covers loans insurance of five major crops i.e. wheat, rice, sugar, cotton and maize. The insured risk included flood, drought and excessive rain.
The committee expressed its grave concern on the crop insurance policy of ZTBL. Syed Naveed Qamar, Chairman of Standing Committee on Commerce, assured the committee that he will take up the said matter in the committee for further deliberations and report on the matter would be presented to the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs.
The committee approved the minutes of its previous meetings held on 15th and 16th April, 2019. The committee considered "The Microfinance Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2019," which was moved by MNA Sajida Begum. The executive director of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) informed the committee that necessary measures have been taken by the SBP for addressing the salient features of said bill.
The committee recommended to Ministry of National Food Security & Research and PARC for preparing a comprehensive presentation along with their recommendations for improvement of research and development in agriculture sector. The committee further recommended to Ministry of National Food Security & Research that working papers should be prepared in line with the given agenda by the Special Committee on Agriculture Products.
The committee deferred the remaining agenda pertaining to tariff reforms with regard to imports in Pakistan due to shortage of time.
The meeting was attended by MNAs Raza Nasrullah, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Aftab Hussain Siddique, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Ali Pervaiz, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Syed Naveed Qamar, Hina Rabbani Khar and Sajida Begum, besides the senior officers of Ministry of Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, FBR, SBP, SECP, ZTBL, NARC and National Tariff Commission.