ISLAMABAD ( BMZ REPORT )
Senate Standing Committee on commerce in its meeting was told that the board of directors of Exim bank is now in place and a consultancy firm will be soon hired to prepare the manual and business plan for the bank. State Bank of Pakistan will license the bank after the consultancy finishes all work required for the bank’s functioning which will be before June next year. The post of chief executive officer will also be advertised again.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Shibli Faraz here at the Parliament House on Wednesday. The committee observed that the importance of this bank is not understood as it should be. The committee asked for representation of all provinces in the board of directors.
The committee meeting had Senator Nauman Wazir as a special invitee who raised the matter of negative impacts of 90% of Pakistan’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries. He said that the trade deficit (ratio of exports and imports) with China has increased from 4 million to 12 million and whether the commerce ministry is coming up with any plan that the FTAs are signed in a way that specialists and stakeholders are in close contact for feedback on the terms of these agreements when they are being signed. Senator Shibli Faraz also questioned what compels us to go for a FTA and how do we monitor and safeguard our interests after signing. Secretary commerce told the committee that volumes of imports have gone up irrespective of FTAs and there are multiple reasons leading to this. He said that the ministry now engages in structured discussion in the process to help avoid trade deficit and to safeguard the local manufacturer as well as farmer.
The matters of import of huge quantity of powdered milk injurious to health and of restriction on imports of PVC scrap on the pretext of being hazardous were also discussed in the meeting. Commerce ministry told the meeting that the powdered milk imported in country is subject to standard control and is checked by the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) under the ministry of science and technology. It was stated that commerce ministry is just related to the policy making and the implementation is related to FBR, PSQCA and provincial governments. Regarding restriction on PVC scrap, the committee asked the ministry to have a mechanism in the policy which is suitable for small manufacturers. The policy should be in line with the ground realities.
The committee while discussing the Act of TDAP, observed that it is too widespread and its work ambit is to be constrained. Commerce ministry told the meeting that inherently nothing is wrong with the act and the trade development authority is working towards rationalizing the major objectives. TDAP will share its recommendations in amending the act with the committee who will subsequently share its views.
The meeting was attended among others by Senators Karim Khwaja, Nauman Wazir, Usman Kakar, Rubina Khalid, Rahila Magsi,MuftiAbdul Sattar, Kamil Ali Agha and Hafi Saifullah Bangash.