Companies Bill 2016 Gets a Clean Chit by the NA Committee

After a long and intense debate, Companies Bill 2016 has been accepted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday. Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh of PML-N, member of the committee, inquired technical questions from the officials to which they had no answer. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan were also criticized for their non-seriousness towards the committee’s stature.

Earlier on government had declared Companies Bill 2016 as a proper decree, enforcing it as an Ordinance. This sparked controversies and it went to an extreme that later, a resolution in the Senate abolished it.

Heated Debate Over The Bill

Previously, Daniyal Aziz formed a committee to finalize the negotiations over the bill. Mian Abdul Mannan of the PML-N, Asad Umar of the PTI and Naveed Qamar of the PPP were the member of the subcommittee. Special invitation was extended to Dr. Nafisa Shah of the PPP.

Mr. Mannan presented the subcommittee report. It highlighted the unsettled dispute of government’s power to fire the chief executive of a government initiative. Dr. Shah made it clear that the power to do so must lie with the board, since the government has the majority of the directors working with it.

Though, the SECP team suspended the matter in order to convince the committee members, the report was approved after the voting over the bill.

Additionally, the committee also discussed the company’s compulsory requirements to file the annual report. Objections were raised by the member against such requirements for small companies.

After a heated debate, it was declared that companies with no change in their financial status and directors can submit with ‘No change’ along with their previous report.

Amendments to the Companies Bill 2016

Strict conditions have been introduced in the edited Companies Bill 2016 related to foreign assets belonging to any Pakistani. The previous draft concluded that Pakistanis with more than 10% foreign shares had to share their investment details. But the final draft concludes that all foreign investments have to be discussed accordingly.

Moreover, any foreigner investing in Pakistan may not disclose their investment details.

Special companies like agro-based companies and small developing companies have been relaxed for the national tax number (NTN) requirement.  According to the new draft of Companies Bill 2016, property dealers can also withdraw their money through distinct project account. However, construction companies are to maintain the international standards for auditing.

Source: Dawn

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