50th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization of the National Assembly was held today i.e 15th March, 2017, at 02:00 p.m, Committee Room No. 2, Parliament House, Islamabad, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, MNA on the following agenda:-
i) Confirmation of minutes of the last meeting held on 22-02-2017.
ii) Briefing by Director General, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and President, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on the inquiry status of NBP Bangladesh scam.
iii) To discuss the issues of NBP pensioners regarding periodical increase in pension.
iv) Presentation by President, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) on the actions taken by the Bank regarding suitable reduction in high markup rates on the loans of agriculture sector alongwith their regional comparison.
v) Briefing by Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on the outcome of export package announced by the Government in the light of the FBR polices.
vi) Implementation status of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance & Revenue regarding reduction in differential of income tax between commercial and industrial importers.
2. The Committee approved the minutes of the last meeting held on 22-02-2017.
3. Director General NAB informed the Committee about the inquiry status with regard to NBP Bangladesh scam. He said that NAB has completed his work for launching reference against the accused. However, its final approval was awaited from the executive board and Chairman NAB. He added that NAB would be able to register the references in the court after two weeks. The Committee expressed its displeasure on the slow performance of NAB. The Committee was of the view that NAB has already taken lot of time for preparing the references. The Committee unanimously decided that a letter would be written to Chairman NAB for quick disposal of the matter. The Committee was informed by the President, NBP regarding their efforts for recoveries of funds in this regard.
4. While considering the petition regarding NBP pensioners for periodical increase in pension. The Committee was informed by the petitioners that since last more than 07 years NBP has increased only 3% in 2012. However, government has increased pensions approximately 15 % for each year. The Committee has shown its deep concern on the issue and recommended to NBP for increasing the pension to their retired employees. The President, NBP assured the Committee that matter would be considered on priority basis, however they need atleast one month in this regard.
5. The Committee was briefed by the President, ZTBL and CFO regarding actions taken by the Bank for suitable reduction in high markup rates on the loans of agriculture sector alongwith their regional comparison. President, ZTBL informed the Committee that currently ZTBL was dealing about five hundred thousand customers by providing micro finance upto 2—2.5 lac. He said that ZTBL was also paying 7.5 % interest against 56 Billion lending to SBP, which was the major cause for higher markup ratio on agriculture sector. After thread bear discussion the Committee unanimously recommended that government should reduce the interest ratio for agriculture loans upto single digit. The Honorable Members were also of the opinion that markup ratio on agriculture lending should be equal to industrial loans.
6. The Committee was informed by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) ZTBL with regard to revamp strategy of government for ZTBL. He said that a dedicated team was working for making the institution as technology based organization under the supervision of Ministry of Finance. He said that agri bonds would also be introduced in the market and retail functioning of the Bank may be initiated shortly. He further informed that ZTBL will install ATMs for their customers/farmers.
7. The Committee deferred agenda item No. V & VI for its next meeting, which has already been fixed for tomorrow i.e 16-03-2016 and directed the Chairman, FBR to attend said meeting.