Senate panel decides to discuss Pandora leaks

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has decided to discuss the Pandora leaks. 

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held under the chair of Senator Talha Mahmood on Tuesday at Parliament house.

The committee chairman said that more than 700 Pakistanis’ names have emerged in the leaks which also include the names of federal cabinet members as well as opposition party leaders.

“This is a very important matter and we have to evaluate what the concerned departments have done in this regard,” he added.

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The committee also decided to invite Journalists Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani as both were members of the ICIJ consortium who unearthed the documents.

Further, the committee expressed concerns over the continuous devaluation of the currency. 

Senate Sherry Rehman said that the dollar’s value has surged to Rs171.80, which is enhancing the inflation rate in the country. She quoted a report that predicted that dollar value might surge to Rs180.

“On the other hand, the current account deficit (CAD) is also widening, which is a dangerous sign for the economy,” she added. 

Other committee members also noted that inflation would further increase in the months to come due to the rupee depreciation as well as the continuous increase in oil prices. 

The committee has also discussed the budget proposals, which were moved by the Senate to the National Assembly for incorporating in Finance Bill FY22. The Ministry of Finance informed that the Senate Standing Committee on Finance had forwarded 124 budget recommendations. 

However, 43 recommendations were fully incorporated in the Finance Bill, 19 partially and 62 proposals were rejected. Chairman Committee Senator Talha Mahmood asked why the government had rejected the proposals, which were finalised by the senators.

He directed the finance division to inform why the committee recommendations have not been included in the finance bill.

Chairman Committee Senator Talha Mahmood also said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is issuing unnecessary notices to the business community. The tax department has served Rs2.3 trillion notices which are disturbing the business community.

The committee has sought details of notices issued to the business community in the last five years. 

Dry Fruit Association (DFA) President Haji Fojan informed the committee that FBR has sent notices of Rs700 million despite the fact we pay tax every year. He said that FBR is doing injustice with us as our millions of rupee products damage due to unnecessary delays.

The customs officials told the committee that FBR issues the permit for import and export consignment. They requested the committee to summon DG Customs intelligence as he is seeing all the matters and directly report to Chairman FBR.

The committee also decides to form a sub-committee on this matter to investigate the reasons.

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Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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