via Business Recorder
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce Ministry on Monday decided to reconsider its own approved “State Life Insurance Corporation (Re-organisation and Conversion Bill, 2016)” clause by clause, making it in line with the Bill passed by the Senate of Pakistan with amendments.
Presided over by Siraj Muhammad Khan (a dissident of PTI?), the committee took this decision after members of PPP (P) hailing from Sindh especially Shazia Marri and Dr. Mahreen Razaque Bhutto raised a number of questions on the Bill. Dr Fouzia Hameed also supported Shazia Marri. Chairman State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC), Shoaib Mir, gave a briefing on the proposed amendments referred to the National Assembly Standing Committee.
Shazia Marri argued that the word “reconsideration” in the Bill means that the government intends to privatise the organisation which contributes more than 97 per cent of its profits to the shareholders.
Shoaib Mir informed the committee that the word reconsideration in the Bill has been deleted on the recommendations of the Senate. He argued that the entire purpose of the Bill was to bring the organisation in line with international standards through corporatization and there was no intention of privatizing the entity.
SLIC is the only public sector organisation which is profitable and the only purpose is to enlist 25 per cent share of company through Initial Public offering (IPO).
Shoaib Mir informed the committee, that initially the SLIC Bill contained the word privatisation which was removed by the Senate.
The Senate also added a new clause “shareholding and management control in the company”. The clause describes: (i) representation on the Board of Directors shall be according to their shareholding; (ii) federal government shall have the management and control of the company with their share equal to not less than 75 per cent in all circumstances; (iii) the remaining 25 per cent share shall be enlisted at the Stock Exchange; and (iv) no company or person shall have more than 5 per cent share. He also gave a briefing on continuation of service of employees and guarantee of policies by federal government and utilization of surplus etc.
Chairman Standing Committee maintained that for a public limited company there is no justification for a government guarantee of shareholder investment protection. Secretary Commerce, Azmat Ali Ranha who witnessed the entire proceedings of the committee, proposed that a full session of 4 or 5 hours should be convened to discuss the SLIC Bill clause by clause. The committee members also agreed on the proposal and decided to convene the next meeting of the committee during the first week of March 2017 to exclusively discuss the SLIC Bill.
The Committee was briefed on the working and functioning of the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO) and directed that the Members from all Provincial Governments may be appointed in the IPO Policy Board as per IPO-Pakistan, Act, 2012. All the Provincial governments may be coordinated while making legislations on the subjects/matters relating to provinces.
The representatives of the IPO faced tough questions about the role of the organisation when it has no power to intervene in the field and is unaware of the fate of the case being processed by the dealing organisations.
The committee was informed that 187 cases of copyrights have been registered by the enforcing agencies like FIA, Police, Customs, PEMRA and judiciary. Shazia Marri argued that there was no need to discuss law for protection of geographical indications as the subject culture is devolved to the provinces, adding discussing this issue was a waste of resources.
An official statement states that the Committee considered “The State Life Insurance Corporation (Re-organization and conversion Bill, 2016” as passed by the Senate with amendments referred to the Committee by the House on the 2nd February, 2017 and deferred for the next meeting.
Chaudhry Asad-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Waseem Akhtar Shaikh, Mian Muhammad Rasheed, Ms Tahira Aurangzeb, Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharral, Dr Mahreen Razaque Bhutto, Nazir Ahmed Bughio, Shazia Marri, Ms Mussarat Ahmad Zeb, Ms Sajida Begum, Sanjay Perwani, Alhaj Shah Jee Gul Afridi and Dr Fouzia Hameed, MNAs attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers of the Ministry of Commerce and its allied Organizations.