ISLAMABAD: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Dr Inayat Hussain Wednesday has said that rising demand of dollars among the masses and lifting of import restrictions are the primary drivers of the depreciating rupee.
The deputy governor on Wednesday briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on the consistent fluctuation in dollar price.
Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla was of the opinion that SBP should take precautionary measures to ensure dollar stability and discourage the public from unnecessarily purchasing dollars.
Mandviwalla highlighted the matter of opening letters of credit (LCs) to import electric vehicles (EVs) and said that the government should prioritize the import of EVs over traditional vehicles as it would contribute to averting the climate crisis.
While briefing the present status of EXIM Bank, Dr. Hussain said that Board Members of EXIM Bank have been notified, however, the bank will become operational on the clearance of FPT forms and documentation of nominated Board Members.
The committee directed the SBP to expedite the clearance of FPT forms within two weeks.
Regarding assets of officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Saifullah Niazi said that officials should declare their present assets and assets at the time of joining the FBR.
FBR Chairman Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana apprised the committee that it is mandatory to declare assets at the time of joining the Board and at the time of promotion.
The committee chairman said that it has been claimed that FBR officials have benami properties. However, Tiwana clarified that if any official is guilty of having benami properties, appropriate action is taken. However, he added that FBR has 25,000 officials and it is not possible to check the assets of every employee.
Tiwana’s response was met by Senator Kamil Ali Agha who asked who the FBR can be trusted to check the assets of 250 million people when it cannot verify the assets of just 25,000 of its own staff and said that the FBR chairman’s response is not satisfactory.
Agha said that a former chairman of the FBR told the committee that there is corruption to the tune of Rs 600 billion within the FBR and said that FBR officials should be held accountable.
Special Secretary Finance Awais Manzur Sumra told the committee that the government does not have any mechanism to check the assets of officials.
Sumra said that the Establishment Division can make the necessary amendments in law with regard to asset declaration.
The committee demanded that changes in the law related to asset declaration should be presented before the committee.
The committee members also said that the assets of officials would be made public after approval from the federal government.