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The government has said that it has got access to the data of over 600 Pakistanis who have $ 7-8 billion in their accounts through automatic exchange of information under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This was told by Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi to media person outside the committee room where a meeting was chaired by MNA Asad Umar and FBR made a presentation on the very matter. The chairman FBR added that the government has got access to the information of Pakistanis holding accounts having $7-8 billion.

He, however, regretted that the UAE is not sharing information about Pakistanis, especially those who hold Iqama (work permit), but stated that “we are trying to break this barrier to get access to information.” Asad Umar who chaired the committee told media persons after the meeting that majority of those having over $1 million in their accounts have $5 billion in their foreign accounts. The meeting was informed that Pakistanis having $1 million or above abroad have 378 accounts, those having $750,000 to $1,000,000 have 123 accounts while those Pakistanis having $500,000 to $ 750,000 in their accounts are 154 in number.The meeting was further informed that 453 cases have been sent to the commissioners while 247 are available for tax proceeding and FBR plans to dispose of them by October 30, 2019. The meeting was further told that 115 foreign account holders benefited from 2018 amnesty scheme and 72 got benefit from 2019 amnesty scheme. The director general (international taxation) FBR briefed the committee with regard to automatic exchange of information, data received from OECD and its follow-up plan. After detailed presentation, the committee decided to take briefing from the FBR after October 30 2019 after it will initiate tax proceeding against defaulters.

The committee discussed the agenda pertaining to the recommendations of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products to uplift agriculture development in the country. The secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research informed the committee that Ministry of National Food Security has worked out various projects under the vision of agriculture emergency for the development of agriculture sector.

Syed Fakhar Imam, convener of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products, stated that agro-economy has been paralysed due to lack of research work. He was of the opinion that major portion of allocated funds by the government is utilised for salaries and other administrative business instead of research work. The secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research informed that government has not allocated required funds of Rs 5 million for research during current financial year 2019-20.The committee recommended to Ministry of Finance for providing the required funds on priority basis. The secretary finance assured the committee that Rs 1 billion would be allocated to Ministry for National Food Security & Research for research work in the second quarter of this financial year. The committee also recommended that Special Committee on Agricultural Products constituted by the Prime Minister will monitor the final allocation of funds for research.

Asad Umar drew the attention of the committee and finance secretary towards the decision made by the cabinet in its meeting held in January 2019 with regard to 50% reduction in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), particularly for the fertilizer sector. The committee meeting also directed the Ministry of Finance to expedite the matter and submit report to this committee at the earliest.

While talking about the sugar situation in Pakistan, it was said that sudden skyrocketing of the price of sugar in the current year still appears to be an anomaly given that the supply of sugar still appears to be in excess of its demand. The committee recommended that CCOP will deliver comprehensive briefing on the working and functioning of the Commission. The committee members expressed their concern on the PFMA cartel and sugar sector.