Past concessionary SROs to be presented for parliamentary approval


ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to take parliamentary approval for concessionary SROs issued in the past instead of extending through Finance Bill 2017.
Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in his windup budget speech 2017/2018 explained that in the light of Supreme Court order regarding the concessionary SROs issued after 18th Amendment there was requirement of taking parliamentary approval.
A new section 241 is proposed to be inserted, whereby all notifications and orders issued and notified, in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Federal Government, before July 1, 2017 shall be deemed to have been validly issued and notified in exercise of those powers, notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment of a High Court or the Supreme Court.
Insertions similar to above are also proposed to be made in Sales Tax Act, 1990, Federal Excise Duty Act, 2005 and Customs Act, 1969.
Experts at Deloitte Chartered Accountants said it appeared that this insertion is being made to counter the recent judgment of the Supreme Court reported as 2016 PTD 2269, whereby it was held that no Prime Minister can move any legislation, finance or fiscal bill or approve any budgetary or discretionary expenditures on his own without taking the cabinet into confidence first.
Thus it was held that no bill could be moved in Parliament on behalf of the Federal Government without having been approved in advance by the Cabinet. It was held that neither the constitutional provisions, nor the Rules of Business, 1973 conferred power on a Secretary or head of Division, to be treated as the Federal Government.
Considering the hassle and time involved to get approval of Cabinet for all the fiscal matters, which causes pendency of various important matters, the proposed amendment has been made to validate all the notification and orders issued and notified before July 1, 2017.
The issue was also criticized in the Senate.
The finance minister said that considering Senate recommendations all the SROs issued by the FBR during 18th Amendment and Supreme Court order would be presented before the Parliament for approval.