NA body discusses issuance ‘Ordinance on Money Bill’

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Wednesday discussed the agenda pertaining to a Point of Order with regard to issuance of ‘Ordinance on Money Bill’ by the government in light of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The 55th meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held under the chairmanship of MNA Faiz Ullah in the Parliament House.

A member of the committee was of the opinion that said matter should be referred to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for inquiry.

The Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Shakeel Malik presented the views of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs in response to the query raised by MNAs Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Shahida Akhtar Ali, Raja Pervez Ashraf in the House.

The opposition members have expressed following concerns on point of orders: –

Whether President of Pakistan can promulgate an ordinance relatable to money matters?

They said the President of Pakistan is part of the Parliament in terms of Article 50 of the constitution of Pakistan.

The President may promulgate an Ordinance under Article 89 of the Constitution on any subject enumerated in Federal Legislative List.

An Ordinance promulgated on money matters in terms of Article 73(2), is to be laid in the National Assembly as per Article 89(2)(a)(i) of the Constitution.

It is needless to say that after promulgation of an Ordinance the moment it is laid in the floor of the House, it becomes a Bill.

Are there any instances for promulgation of Ordinances by the President’s office on money matters?

The Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs informed the Committee about the details of Ordinances promulgated by the Presidents in the past during PPPP tenure from 2008-2013, PML(N) tenure from 2013 to 2018, and PTI tenure from 2018, till date.

He added that as per the Lego-constitutional advice by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs reaffirms the government’s position that the Ordinance issued on State Bank of Pakistan and any more ordinances as such are validly promulgated by the President because the President enjoys full mandate to promulgate ordinances as per provisions of the Constitution.

MNA Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary and other members from opposition were of the stance that financial impact of any Ordinance to public should also be considered, because “The Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 (VI of 2021)”, Money Bill, have imposed Rs.700 billion in kind of tax on the public.

Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary also expressed his concerns that the government can collect the taxes from the masses on the promulgation of Ordinance on Money Bill despite the fate of the legislation by the National Assembly, which shows the weaker position of the Parliament.

After detailed discussion, the Committee unanimously decided that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliament Affairs, Minister for Law and Justice, and Attorney General of Pakistan may be requested to attend the next meeting of the Committee in this regard for further deliberations.

The Committee deferred Agenda pertaining to disbursement of $500 million to Pakistan from International Monetary Fund (IMF) revival of the fund programme and followed commitments with the board and discussion on the Act of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on the request of the Committee Members.

The Committee also deferred the legislative business owing to short of time and decided that the same will be considered in the next meeting.

The Committee discussed the matter of mis-declaration of Iranian origin ships by changing Iranian origin shipments documents and cleared by Custom’s Authorities on UAE/Oman/Iraq/Turkey, origin documents.

The Member Custom apprised the Committee on the matter.

He said there were no restrictions for clearance of oil as per the duties/taxes defined by the Government of Pakistan from any country.

However, the Committee Members have expressed their concerns on the statement of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding policies for Iranian Oil. After discussion, the Committee decided that M/o Energy (Petroleum Division), M/o Interior, M/o Foreign Affairs, stakeholders i.e. local oil refineries and relevant policy makers will be invited in the next meeting of the Committee for further discussion on the issue.

A member of the Committee was of the opinion that said matter should be referred to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for inquiry.

However, Mr. Faiz Ullah, Chairman of the Committee responded that the suggestion of the member will be considered after the outcome of the next meeting.

Member Custom Muhammad Tariq Huda, informed the Committee about the matter of Tax evasion by Morris Garages (MG) Automobile Company.

He said that Goods Declaration filed for the clearance of vehicles imported by any vehicle importer under normal regime is processed and finalized by the customs field formation of FBR without the involvement of Industries and Production Division.

He also informed that MG JW Automobile Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. has imported new vehicles without availing the benefit provided in Automobile Development Policy (ADP) 2016-21.

He added that the investment agreement between Government of Pakistan and MG JW Automobile Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. has not yet been signed enabling MG JW Automobile Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. to import Completely Build-up Units (CBU) or Completely Knocked Down (CKD) on the terms and conditions provided in ADP 2016-21.

Member Custom (Operations) informed that MG matter was under consideration by the custom authorities, however, the Committee decided that FBR will inform the status of the issue to this Committee time to time.

The Committee offered Fatiha on the sad demise of Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, S/o Mr. Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, MNA/Member of the Committee and former Chairman of Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Amjid Ali Khan, Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Faheem Khan, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Muhammad Israr Tareen, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Chaudary Khalid Javed, Ali Pervaiz, Nafisa Shah, Hina Rabbani Khar, Abdul Wasay and Syed Javed Hasnain, MNA/Mover of the Bill.

The MNA Syed Naveed Qamar member of the Committee attended the meeting through video link.

The meeting was also attended by the senior officers from M/o Finance and Revenue, M/o Law and Justice, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).