ISLAMABAD –  The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Thursday refused to take briefing from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on recent rupee depreciation against US dollar.

The committee, which met under the chair of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, has demanded that SBP Deputy Governor Riaz Riazuddin should brief the committee on recent rupee depreciation against US dollar. Riaz was the acting governor when dollar’s value sharply increased by Rs3.12 in a single day.

“We had invited Riaz in committee meeting to give briefing. But the government has not allowed him to attend the meeting,” said Senator Saleem Mandviwalla. The committee deferred the agenda for the next meeting.

Bajwa informed the committee that inflow of foreign remittances had shown decline from all countries except from Qatar. Remittances received from Qatar had recorded increase. The committee has sought detailed report from the SBP on the foreign remittances received from other countries.

The committee also discussed the record tampering case of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). The committee get briefing from SECP’s officials, those who recorded their statement in Joint Investigation Team that probed Panama papers case. Commissioner Tahir Mahmood, who recorded statement against former SECP chairman Zafar Hijazi, informed the committee that he was witness of record tampering. He further said that the Ministry of Finance was aware of the record tampering.

SECP’s official Maheen Fatima said that Hiajzi pressurised me for backdated signature. “He had not allowed me to go from office without accepting his orders, which were illegal,” Fatima said. The committee also discussed the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the government has collected Rs258 billion till June 2017 under GIDC and Rs122 billion was collected before GIDC act.

The government had given guarantees on RLNG-1 pipeline and RLNG-3 pipeline, he added. He said that Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline had not started due to the international sanctions on Tehran. Meanwhile, work on Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan and India (TAPI) project had already started and gas supply from the project would start from the mid of 2020, he said and added that  Pakistan would only pay for gas.

However, India will give royalty to Pakistan, he added. The minister further informed that the government has started implementation on GIDC report, finalised by subcommittee of the Senate standing committee.


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