ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has expressed displeasure over the delay in appointment of the Members of the Board of Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP).
The panel has directed the Finance Division to finalise the process of board members’ appointment in order to improve the performance of the organisation. The Committee also expressed its dissatisfaction with the delay in appointment of the heads of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), an issue which has remained unresolved for nearly a year.
The 83rd meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held at the Parliament House in Islamabad under the chairmanship of Member of National Assembly Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh.
During the meeting, the chairperson of the CCP noted that the role of the CCP is to foster competition in all spheres of economic activity and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices. She informed that CCP essentially administers the provisions of the Competition Act, 2010 by means of enforcing the prohibitions against anti-competitive behaviour, undertaking competition advocacy, and conducting research on competition related issues.
She said that the CCP has made many achievements over the years, but there remain some unaddressed challenges. She emphasised that there are over 500 cases against CCP’s actions which are pending in different courts. Over 217 appeals also against CCP’s orders are pending in the Competition Appellate Tribunal, she added.
A committee member also inquired about the status of the appointment of the board members of CCP. To this, the Special Secretary, Finance Division, informed the Committee that there are four vacancies among the five Members of the CCP.
Currently, the Commission has no other member except the Chairperson of CCP. The positions of the Members have been vacant since March, 2022. The secretary also said that 186 applications have been received for the board vacancies from which the candidates are being shortlisted. After the shortlisting process is done, a committee headed by the Minister for Finance will finalise the appointment of these four members.
On another note, a committee member, referring to the International Women’s Day, said that simply celebrating women’s day does not fulfil the rights of women and held that practical steps also need to be taken. The Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan added that they had directed all public and private sector banks to allocate 20 to 25% quota to women for employment in the banking sector.
During the discussion on the Calling Attention Notice regarding the privatisation of House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC), the Special Secretary, Finance Division, told the Committee that HBFC has always been in loss and was put in the privatisation list five years ago.
He informed that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) owned 90% of the corporation’s shares, while HBFC itself remained the owner of only 10% of the shares. In the last period, the government waived off the debt amounting to Rs.166.9 billion, he added.