Islamabad, August 30, 2023: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Saleem Mandviwalla in the Chair.
during the meeting, the committee deliberated on the Private Member Bill titled “The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill,2023″. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, the mover of the bill, apprised that the purpose of the bill is to curtail the unbridled powers of the State Bank of Pakistan and enable the government to borrow money from the SBP.
However, Dr. Inayat Hussain, Deputy Governor of SBP, argued that the amendment made in the previous year was aligned with the ongoing IMF program and aimed to instill fiscal responsibility in government operations. The Committee deferred the deliberations on the bill till the next meeting
The Senate Committee expressed concerns over the growing dollar instability, unprecedented electricity cost, and a 22 percent interest rate that are making it challenging for current businesses to survive and thrive.
Senator Mohsin Aziz highlighted the issue of Capacity Payment’ which currently stands at Rs.1.2 trillion, being paid to IPPs, and advised that the government should reconsider its agreement with them.
Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar stated that the Country’s economy needs a lot of fixing and the ministry is tirelessly working on multilateral fronts to deliver the task. She stressed that mobilization of local resources and structural reforms in State Owned Enterprises is the need of the hour and it will bear fruit for the struggling economy. The Caretaker Finance Minister decided to provide a comprehensive briefing on the Country’s Economy to the Standing Committee in the upcoming week.
Furthermore, the senate body was briefed on the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Budget. Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, the Prime Minister of AJK, highlighted that AJK produces approximately 2600 MW of electricity each year, with a consumption of 350 MW. He appealed to the government to provide electricity to the people of AJK at production costs and requested the allocation of the share mentioned in the Federal Divisible Share Pool. The Committee recommended the government address the reservations expressed by the AJK Prime Minister.
In addition to that, the committee discussed the Point of Public Importance raised by Senator Hilal ur Rehman regarding the nonpayment of compensation to the affectees of the Mohmand dam. Senator Hilal ur Rehman informed that Affectees have not been paid according to the rates specified in the project’s PC-I (project cost estimation). District Administration Mohmand stated that rates have been finalized through negotiations with affectees. The Committee deferred the deliberations on the matter till the next meeting.
The meeting was attended by Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Manzoor Ahmed, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, Senator Hilal ur Rehman, Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shamshad Akhtar, Secretary Finance Division Imdad Ullah Bosal,Deputy Governor SBP Dr. Inayat Hussain and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance.