ISLAMABAD: The cabinet, scheduled to meet on Tuesday, is likely to approve a massive increase in the fee to be charged by the Department of Explosives from different businesses including the petroleum and petrochemical industries at a time when the economy has already been crippled by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department of Explosives works under administrative control of the Ministry of Industries and Production. It tries to ensure safety at all levels of manufacturing, transportation, storage, import, export, sale and use of petroleum products, petrochemicals, dangerous chemicals, industrial gases and flammable gases under the Petroleum Act 1934 and rules made thereunder as well as under the Explosives Act 1884/Explosives Rules 2010.
Following approval by the cabinet, the fee may be increased for shop owners from Rs7,000 to Rs35,000, compressed natural gas (CNG) sector from Rs10,000 to Rs20,000, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) auto fuel from Rs20,000 to Rs25,000, LPG plant from Rs25,000 to Rs35,000, kit conversion from Rs3,000 to Rs5,000, service station from Rs1,000 to Rs5,000 and ATM plus tyre shop to Rs5,000.
After ratification by the cabinet in a meeting held on June 19, 2019, a draft notification was published in the Gazette of Pakistan. After 30 days of publication, the Law and Justice Division was requested to examine the draft for final publication in the Gazette.
The Law Division made some minor changes along with the directive that they should be placed before the cabinet for approval.
Since the industries ministry did not receive any objection or suggestion from any person, the Law Division was requested to review its directive of re-submitting the draft to the cabinet. In response, the Law Division suggested that it was mandatory to seek green signal of the federal government before final publication of the draft.
The Ministry of Industries and Production has now sent the document to the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) for onward submission to the cabinet for approval.
National saving rules
The cabinet is also likely to approve amendments to rules regarding the nominee in case of death of an investor of National Savings Schemes.
The Central Directorate of National Savings, an associated department of the Finance Division, offers a number of schemes including Defence Saving Certificates, Behbood Saving Certificates, National Saving Deposit Accounts and Post Office Saving Bank Accounts, which have not only benefitted the vulnerable segments of society but have also helped the government to bridge its financing shortfall.
According to the existing National Saving Schemes Rules, in case of death of an investor of the National Savings Schemes, the principal amount and accrued profit are paid to the nominee(s), according to the share(s) set by the account holder, at the time of opening an account.
In its judgement on August 23, 2016, the Sindh High Court had given directives for aligning the rules and procedures of payment to the nominee(s) with the Islamic Law of Inheritance.
A summary was prepared seeking amendments to the relevant rules, which was reviewed by the CCLC in 2018 and referred to the Finance Division with the suggestion that further due diligence should be carried out and rules should be revised.
The proposed changes to the rules of nomination were publicised through the print media to solicit public opinion and response from investors. Some 174 objections and suggestions were received till April 10, 2018 from investors of National Savings Schemes as well as from different citizens.
As per directives of the CCLC, the CDNS has carried out further due diligence keeping in view the suggestions received from the general public and in light of judgement of the Sindh High Court and decisions of the Supreme Court on different petitions.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2020.