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The Sitting of the National Assembly has been adjourned to meet again on Friday, the 13th December, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. | Committee Meetings:10:30 AM: Interior (Revised) at Committee Room No. 7 | 02:00 PM: 8th Meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (in-camera) (Revised) at Committee Room No.5 (Constitution Room) | 03:00 PM: Meeting of Sub-Committee of the SC on House & Library of the National Assembly-REVISED (Change of Venue) at Conference Room of SDGs Secretariat, 3rd Floor, Parliament House, Islamabad |

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19th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly was held today
Thursday, 8th August, 2019

August 8, 2019: 19th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly was held today i.e 8th August, 2019, at 03:00 p.m., in Committee Room No. 7, Parliament House, Islamabad, under the chairmanship of Mr. Asad Umar, MNA.

2.             The Committee discussed the Calling Attention regarding imposition of huge taxes on marble processing units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa resulting into closure of processing units, forcing the industrialist to shift to tax exempted areas of erstwhile FATA/PATA thus leaving thousands of workers jobless, moved by Syed Fakhar Imam, MNA and recommended that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will furnish its reply to the Committee for further consideration.  

3.             The Committee discussed the agenda pertaining to the recommendations of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products to uplift agriculture development in the country. Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research informed the Committee that Ministry of National Food Security has worked out various projects under the vision of agriculture emergency for the development of agriculture sector. Syed Fakhar Imam, MNA/Convener of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products stated that agro economy has been handicapped due to lack of research work. He was of the opinion that major portion of allocated funds by the government have been utilized for salaries and other administrative business instead of research work.

4.             The Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research informed that government has not allocated required funds of (five billion rupees) for research during current financial year 2019-20. The Committee recommended to Ministry of Finance for providing the required funds on priority basis. The Secretary Ministry of Finance assured the Committee that Rs. 1 Billion would be allocated to Ministry National Food Security & Research for research work in the second quarter of this financial year. The Committee also recommended that Special Committee on Agricultural Products will monitor the final allocation of funds to research its utilization only for the purpose.

5.             Mr. Asad Umar, Chairman of the Committee drew the attention of the Committee and Finance Secretary towards the decision made by the Cabinet in its meeting held in January, 2019 with regard to 50% reduction in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), particularly for the fertilizer sector. The Committee directed the Ministry of Finance to expedite the matter and furnish the report to this Committee at the earliest. The Addl. Secretary Ministry of Finance informed the Committee that said matter would be resolved shortly. 

6.             Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan briefed the Committee about the reasons behind increase of price in wheat flour and sugar sector in the country. She said that Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) was engaged in fixing the prices of flour and provided its members a platform to exchange commercially sensitive information and strategic data on flour prices, which was prima facie violation of Section. She further informed the reasons for increase in wheat prices, which were related to increase in fertilizer prices by 16.7%, unavailability of canal water and irrigation flows in Quarter-2, Financial Year 2019 i.e 6.3% lower than last five years.

7.             While talking about the sugar situation in Pakistan, she said that after factoring in the sales tax and impact of paying farmer the government fixed price during the period of glut as submitted by sugar mill representatives, the sudden sky rocketing of the price of sugar in the current year still appears to be an anomaly given that the supply of sugar still appears to be in excess of its demand. Committee recommended that CCOP will deliver comprehensive briefing on the working and functioning of the Commission. The Committee Members expressed their concern on the PFMA cartel and sugar sector.    

8.             The Director General (International Taxation) FBR briefed the Committee with regard to Automatic Exchange of information, Data received from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its follow up plan. He explained the difficulties in getting the data and then interpreting, because only having the names of individuals. After detailed presentation, the Committee recommended that FBR will further brief the Committee in November, 2019 in this regard.

9.             The meeting was attended by MNAs Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, Mr. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr. Faheem Khan, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Mr. Ali Pervaiz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali Mover/MNA and Syed Fakhar Imam Special invitee/Mover besides the senior officers of Ministry of Finance, FBR, ZTBL, CCOP, and Ministry of National Food Security & Research.