National Assembly passes Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2014 and Foreigners (Amendment) Bill 2016
The National Assembly Wednesday passed the Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of Foreign Exchange (Amend) Bill, 2014, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is the regulator of the foreign exchange regime in Pakistan and is responsible for the administration of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947.
Since the promulgation of the 1947 Act, the volume of foreign currency transactions to and from Pakistan has considerably increased. The SBP needs to have effective enforcement powers to regulate the foreign exchange business of banks and exchange companies.
However, under the existing provision of the Act, SBP has no direct power to impose monetary penalties on violation of provisions of the Act and has to follow a lengthy procedure of adjudication.
It can only suspend or cancel a bank or an exchange company on violation of any provision of the Act which often becomes more severe than the violations warrant.
Now under the Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in order to provide a deterrent and to enable State Bank of Pakistan to take appropriate, effective and prompt remedial measures, the bill seeks to amend the Act to empower the SBP, as a regulator, to impose penalties for violation of the provisions of the Act.
The Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 2016 says the illegal immigrants have increased manifold in Pakistan which has created numerous socio-economic problems, negatively impacting security situation in the country.
The National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) was not equipped to cope with the situation. Consequently, NARA has been merged with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to improve the registration process of aliens in the country. The Senate has passed the bill.