PM Khan chairs Federal Cabinet Meeting, discusses wheat, sugar crisis

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Federal Cabinet in Islamabad and expressed concerns over a report, according to which the Sindh Government released 32,000 tons of wheat that were a 6 years old stock and unfit for human consumption.

According to the statement released by press information department, the Cabinet noted that Sindh did not release wheat timely for public need and did not share Wheat and Sugar stock position with the Federal Government

The Cabinet was apprised about the updated status of actions taken according to the Sugar Enquiry Committee Report. It was informed that several sugar mills had approached courts of law and action is underway after completion of court proceedings. The Cabinet was also informed that NAB was looking into the issue of subsidies.

Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 was also approved by the Cabinet. These amendments are aimed at facilitating transaction under Digital Roshan Pakistan scheme. It was apprised that the US $ 500 million have been transacted through Digital Roshan Pakistan scheme so far.

Chairman, Task Force on IT & Telecom briefed the Cabinet about progress made for the development of IT and Telecom sector. The Cabinet was updated on Vacant Positions of Heads / CEOs of Public Sector Organizations. It was informed that since 2018, 56 Heads / CEOs have been appointed to Public Sector Organizations in a merit-based and transparent manner. The meeting was informed that at present 86 posts of heads/CEOs were vacant. The Prime Minister expressed displeasure over the vacant positions and directed Secretary Establishment Division to furnish a report before the Cabinet citing reasons for the delay in appointments. The Cabinet was apprised about Metro Bus Project, Islamabad.

NHA Chairman informed that infrastructure work has been completed and the project is ready to be handed over to CDA. Minister for Interior was tasked by the Cabinet to present a road-map for handing-over of the project from NHA to CDA and operationalization plan.

The Cabinet accorded approval for Mutual Legal Assistance requests from Non-Treaty Countries as well as the appointment of Chief Metropolitan Officer as Administrator, Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad for 6 months or till the time new Local Government setup is in place, whichever is earlier.

Establishment of 30 Additional Accountability Courts was also approved in implementation of Hon. Supreme Court’s orders. These courts are to be established in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Quetta.

The Prime Minister directed that the first phase of establishment is completed on priority. The Cabinet also approved the appointment of Masroor Khan as Chairman, Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). •

During the meeting, negotiations with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were also discussed. It was informed that the Government will benefit to the tune of Rs. 800 billion over a period of 20 years. It was apprised that the present Government is clearing a liability of approx. Rs. 400 billion after pre-audit.

The Cabinet was apprised that a high-level committee has been established comprising of two Hon. Supreme Court Judges and the Auditor to decide on the disputed amount of Rs. 57 billion claimed by IPPs. The Cabinet was informed that as a result of negotiations, the Government saved Rs. 32 billion against an adjudicated claim of Rs. 92 billion by IPPs.

It was clarified that the Government has not surrendered any of its rights in the negotiations process. The Cabinet was informed that this process will result in a direct benefit of a reduction in energy prices for the consumers. The Cabinet appreciated efforts of the Negotiations Committee.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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