Opp, ANP senators disown ‘unanimous’ recommendations

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The joint opposition and ANP senators on Monday disowned 66 ‘unanimously adopted’ recommendations by the Upper House to make amendments in the money bill 2011-12. They said these were “finance committee’s recommendations as the movers of the recommendations were not heard by the committee”.

They objected to the word ‘unanimous’, saying they were not part of the process when the committee finalised the recommendations. Senators Haji Adeel and Zahid Khan of the ANP, Leader of the Opposition Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Profesor Khurshid of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Ishaq Dar of the PML-N were critical of the attitude of Finance Committee Chairman Senator Ahmad Ali, saying he did not give due preference to the recommendations moved by the senators.

However, Senator Ahmed Ali said he followed rules of procedure while chairing the committee meeting. Senate Chairman Farooq Naik said in the future the movers of the recommendations should be heard at committee properly. Meanwhile, in the 66 recommendations made by the Senate’s standing committee suggested to the National Assembly said that incomes from all sources should be brought under the tax net so that revenue could be generated for sustainable economic development.

The Senate committee suggested circular debt might be brought to an end on an urgent basis and immediately stop gas and electricity load shedding for the industrial units while asking for efforts to end energy crisis in the country. It was also recommended in the report that all administrative expenses except salaries be reduced by 25 percent.

The Senate’s standing committee further recommended that no supplementary grant involving expenditure over and above the amounts sanctioned in the budget be made without prior approval of the cabinet and no reduction or reallocation be made in the approved development budget without being sanctioned by the National Assembly.

The Senate recommended that all international loans and economic agreements be ratified by parliament and that the State Bank of Pakistan work out protocol in consultation with banks to make it obligatory for local and foreign banks to spend at least five percent of their profits for the promotion of educational and health services.