File photo shows Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wih Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.—File Photo
ISLAMABAD: The National Economic Council in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister’s Office this afternoon approved 1155 billion rupees development projects including federal Public Sector Development Programme of Rs. 540 Billion and 615 Billion rupees of development projects belonging to the provinces.
It also decided to constitute a committee led by Minister for Planning and Development with Chief Ministers of the Provinces as its members to consider issues and to chalk out a policy with clear guidelines consistent with the functional responsibilities under the constitution.
The National Economic Council authorised the aforementioned committee to also streamline the process of release of funds to the provinces.
The NEC also authorized Ministry of Planning and Development for making adjustments within the approved PSDP size as decided by the committee.
In his welcome remarks, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif congratulated the Chief Minister on their assumptions of office and completion of smooth transition.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the mandate of the people will be respected. He expressed the confidence that if we continue on the path of democracy, respect democratic traditions and the mandate of the people, the days were not far off when we would be able to raise our heads high as a civilized nation.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the provincial governments will work in their respective provinces for the implementation of development projects with sincerity and ensure that the funds are not only used judiciously but each and every rupee is spent as a sacred trust of the people.
“We will not tolerate any breach of national trust. Funds should be utilized for the purpose they are intended and honestly”, emphasized the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that the biggest issues facing the country were loadshedding, extremism and sectarianism which have a direct bearing on the country’s economy. We need peace for economic activities.
We have to eliminate corruption and plug loopholes and leakages to increase revenue. The present quantum of revenue collection, and size of the development programme is a shame for a country of the size and status of Pakistan. The Prime Minister said that we need revenues and these targets can be improved provided we rid the tax collection machinery of corrupt elements. He observed that this is a pathetic situation and is unacceptable. “No one involved in corruption will be spared.”
The Prime Minister directed the Minister for Planning & Development to review the ongoing schemes reportedly amounting to nearly 3 Trillion and come up with recommendations by July 31, 2013 so that a roadmap on their implementation could also be finalized.
The Prime Minister directed the Minister for Water & Power Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif to find a way out to provide additional electricity to Balochistan in view of the urgent requirement of water for the crops. The direction was issued in response to the request made by the Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, who informed the Prime Minister that Balochistan is presently receiving two hours of electricity only and this would adversely impact the standing crops.
The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance to present a proposal to the Cabinet containing recommendations for improvement in revenue collection including structural reforms. The Chief Ministers of Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, Giligit Baltistan and President AJ&K congratulating the Prime Minister on the assumption of his office assured him of their unconditional support to his program of revival of economy for the country.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Sindh, Mr. Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, Chief Minister Gilgat Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah, GovernorKhyber Pakhtunkhwa Eng. Shaukat Ullah, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Advisor to Chief Minister of Finance, Syed Murad Ali Shah Senior Minister for Finance, Mr. Siraj ul Haq, Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Planning and Development, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Chief Secretaries of all provinces and senior officials participated in the meeting.