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Insurance sector needs reforms, NA panel told

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance has voiced concern over problems being faced by commoners because of an ongoing tussle in the state-run State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC).

The Committee, which met with MNA Faiz Ulla in the chair, also took exception to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for seeking approval of development projects without setting priorities right.

It deliberated on the issue of an ongoing strike by a cadre of field staff of State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) for more than a month.

The chairman said he desired to visit the company’s office in Faisalabad but could not do so because of the strike and expressed concern over problems being faced by public owing to the abolition of SLIC’s fourth tier.

He asked the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman to look into the matter.

SECP Chairman Farrukh H Sabzwari stated before the Committee that not only SLIC but the entire insurance sector had been suffering after being ignored in the past despite its huge potential. There was a need to focus on the sector to bring it on a par with global peers, he added.

Read Also: SECP permitted new life insurance product

He said a lot of reforms were needed to realise the potential of the sector. He further suggested that SLIC be invited by the Committee to deliberate on the issue.

The panel decided to call the SLIC management and other stakeholders to the next meeting for aa detailed view of the situation.

A member of the Committee expressed displeasure over FBR for failing to setting its priorities right regarding proposed projects in the Public Sector Development Programme for the next fiscal year.

FBR Member Administration gave a briefing about the ongoing and new Public Sector Development Programme projects of FBR.

Faiz said that the board did not have a sense of priority about its projects and allocations were being demanded for even those which are not yet taken to the Central Development Working Party or Executive Committee of the National Economic Council and being presented to the Standing Committee for approval.

The Committee members were displeased with the slow progress on establishment of custom offices at Torkham and Chaman borders which were vital for enhancing trade.  They said Pakistan had been facing significant revenue losses due to smuggling as speedy completion of custom offices at Torkham and Chaman was vital to discourage smuggling and mobilise revenue.

The panel was informed that a project was being proposed for inclusion in next year development programme for construction of 17 offices in different areas including the custom collectorate office at Hyderabad.

The SECP chairman told the committee that a total of 96,288 companies were currently registered in corporate sector including the public listed, private, non-profit associations, trade organisations, foreign companies and limited liability partnerships.

The panel will likely hold the next meeting in Karachi on March 12 and 13.



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