ISLAMABAD: Talking to the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, State minister for Finance Aisha Pasha said that the government is not considering any scheme to give one-time permission to the account holders to deposit cash foreign currency in their bank accounts without asking the source.
The meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue held in the Parliament House, Islamabad under the Chairmanship of Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh.
Dr. Pasha made her statement in response to a proposal by the President of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP), Malik Bostan.
While briefing the committee, Bostan said that the association has convened meetings with the Finance Ministry and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to develop some viable mechanisms to deal with the shortage of dollars in the country.
He said that the exchange companies provide monthly $300 million to $400 million, and annually $4 billion to the country through commercial banks.
Malik Bostan said that if the government gives permission to seek dollars from overseas Pakistanis through a “direct swap” policy, the exchange companies can arrange up to $12 billion per year. Where will these additional $8 billion come from? is exactly the question the ECAP doesn’t want anyone to ask.
He said that exchange companies have provided around $4 billion to the current government since April 2022. Earlier last week, Bostan also requested the senate’s SC on finance, to look into the removal of CNIC verification, for the transactions up to $15,000. As per Bostan, the ECAP wants to rid Pakistan of the IMF once and for all. He said that the “demands” of the IMF are increasing by the day.
In response, the State minister, Aisha Ghous Pasha stated that the government of Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed that there would be no more amnesty schemes.
The IMF is against the concept of amnesty schemes. Therefore, the government is not considering any scheme for the account holders, she added.
The Committee also desired that the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar should also attend the next meeting to brief the Committee regarding delay in the agreements between Government of Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During the session, the committee also expressed grave concerns over the delay in the appointment of Presidents for the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL).
Minister of State for Finance Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha briefed the Committee that the Presidents of the NBP and ZTBL shall be appointed before the end of this financial year.
She informed that the process of appointment has been completed and now the matter is with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), where the fit and proper assessment is being done.
She told the Committee that the process was delayed but it will be completed at the earliest.
The Committee expressed grave concerns over the delay in the appointments of the Presidents NBP and ZTBL however, directed the Finance Division to finalize the process of appointments in order to improve the working and performance of the organizations.
Member of the committee Burgis Tahir disclosed in the meeting that the PTI government had provided loans worth three billion dollars to six hundred businessmen without interest in their tenure.
The Chairman demanded the SBP to furnish details of these people to the committee. Deputy Governor State Bank Inayat Hussain told the committee that commercial banks had given these loans during the COVID-19 period. This is confidential information of commercial banks. We can share the details with the committee members in an in-camera briefing.
On this, the Chairman committee also directed the SBP to submit a list of the names of people and conditions of loan in the next meeting.
Regarding the issue of pensionary benefits to the retired employees of NBP, the Committee directed the SBP and NBP to resolve this issue.
The Minister of State was of the view that the pensioners should follow the proper process as their case was considered in the NBP Board and the first meeting of the board had already convened.
MNA Kiran Imran Dar expressed gratitude to the committee for addressing her Point of Order, regarding the long queue of the pensioners for collection of pension and payment from National Saving Schemes.
She said that National Savings has facilitated the pensioners, on the directions of the Committee and long queues have now been eliminated. Later, the Committee recommended to raise the minimum wage of sweepers, low-paid servants; working in the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges, upto Rs.25,000/- per month.