SBP-related bills not yet approved: Cabinet sets up panel to evaluate Haj Policy

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SBP Diary - SBP News

ISLAMABAD : The Cabinet, which met here on Wednesday with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the chair, did not approve State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment Bill, 2010) and the SBP Banking Services Corporation (BSC) Ordinance (Repeal) Bill, 2010 in its present form.

According to the summary, exclusively obtained by Business Recorder, Senator Raza Rabbani had moved two private members bills ie State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment Bill, 2010) and the SBP Banking Services Corporation Ordinance (repeal) Bill, 2010, in the Senate on February 22, 2010.The SBP (Amendment) Bill, 2010) proposed omission of section 8 A from the Act while SBP Banking Services Corporation Ordinance (Repeal) Bill, 2010 proposed repeal of the entire Ordinance 2001 (LXVII of 2001). Rabbani opined that bifurcation of SBP with the insertion of section 8A and enactment of SBP s BSC Ordinance by creating subsidiaries would fail to fulfil its purpose and that this section was inserted by an Ordinance and hence, was not debated in the Parliament. Therefore, section 8 A of SBP Act may be omitted and SBP BSC Ordinance, 2001 be repealed.According to Finance Ministry, formation of subsidiaries and division of functions is a normal world-wide practice, utilised for optimum productivity. Through this initiative, SBP has been able to concentrate on qualitative improvement of its core functions, policy making and stabilisation of the financial sector in the recent world-wide financial crisis.

On the other hand, Finance Ministry was of the view that a focused SBP BSC would be able to foster and develop its specialised functions and personnel to the benefit of all the stakeholders including the public at large. The National Institute of Banking and Finance (NIBAF), established under the new setup is providing valuable and function-specific training to SBP s own staff and general banking training to the employees of commercial banks, government departments, foreign central banks and new entrants.

The Finance Ministry in its comments stated that enactment of either or both Bills would create innumerable legal/administrative complications and would also affect the financial sector and public sector at large. The effectiveness and usefulness of the current system has been acknowledged. Therefore, national organisation may be allowed to continue its functioning.

After hearing the comments of Finance Ministry, the Cabinet constituted a committee comprising Minster for Privatisation, Adviser on Finance and Senator Rabbani to evaluate State Bank of
Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and the SBP Banking Services Corporation Ordinance (Repeal) Bill, 2010.

The Cabinet also considered the proposed Haj Policy 2010. A detailed presentation was made to the Cabinet on the contours of the proposed Haj Policy. The Cabinet was informed that the new policy would be based on the principle of transparency and maximum facilitation to the pilgrims as enunciated by the Prime Minister. After an extensive discussion, which also focused on the desirability of providing economical and decent accommodation to the pilgrims through a transparent renting mechanism, the Cabinet decided to evaluate its legal implications. In that context, it constituted a committee, headed by Minister for Law and Justice to make recommendations regarding desirability of legislating a Bill on the subject.

Reviewing the status of implementation of decisions taken by the Cabinet, the meeting was informed that 72 decisions were taken by the Cabinet during its 56 meetings from March 25, 2008 to April 21, 2010, while 62 decisions had been implemented and implementation on 10 decisions was under process due to consultation on some issues related to legislation concerning finance and the provincial governments.

The Cabinet also approved decisions of the ECC taken on
May 3, 2010. The Cabinet considered the draft of Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electricity Power (Amendment) Bill, 2010 . It was observed that unnecessary delays in processing and finalisation of matters should be avoided as far as possible. A committee was constituted, headed by Law Minister, to finalise the matters related to Nepra.

It approved the signing of agreement between the Government of Tajikistan and the Government of Pakistan in the field of Health; Ratification of Re-admission Agreement between Pakistan and European Union and gave consent in principle to initiate Special Economic Zones Act, 2010.

The Cabinet approved to initiate negotiations on agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment with ECO Member States; and on negotiations on Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment with
Mongolia. It also discussed Amendment in the Provincial Employees Social Security Ordinance, 1965 which will be referred to the Implementation Commission on 18th Amendment.

The Cabinet also approved signing of the Economic Co-operation Organisation (ECO) Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, Amendment in and Signing of Protocol between Pakistan and Belgium for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income; Initiation of Negotiations on an Agreement between Pakistan and Mongolia for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income; Multilateral Agreement among D-8 Member Countries on Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters; Signing and Ratification of the Statute of the Standards & Metrology Institute of Islamic Countries (SMIC).

The Cabinet accorded approval, in principle, for Initiation of Negotiations on a MoU on Scientific & Technological Co-operation between
Pakistan and Mauritius. Earlier, the Cabinet offered fateha on the passing away of the mother-in-law of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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