ISLAMABAD: The Centre and the provinces on Monday decided to form task forces within their jurisdictions to control rapid population growth.
The meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan considered the figure of 207.8 million population in the last census as a benchmark to discuss the issue of population welfare and its control.
Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law and Justice Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, Privatisation Minister Mohammadmian Soomro, Chief Ministers Usman Buzdar of Punjab, Murad Ali Shah of Sindh, Mahmood Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jam Kamal Khan of Balochistan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood, federal and provincial secretaries and other senior officials attended the meeting.
The meeting decided to reduce population growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum to 1.5pc.
CCI approves privatisation of two R-LNG power plants
The task forces will be headed by the prime minister at the national level and by the respective chief ministers at the provincial levels. The process of establishment of task forces will be completed within 48 hours.
The task forces will consider the recommendations made by the task force constituted earlier on the orders of the Supreme Court and will submit a comprehensive action plan to the CCI, taking into account the future implementation strategy of the action plan, the financial aspects and other issues relating to garnering support of all segments of society for the success of a comprehensive population control programme.
According to the 2017 census, which was held after a gap of 19 years, the country’s population has been counted at 207,774,520 living in 32,205,111 households.
When contacted, Finance Minister Asad Umar said since the finalisation of census result was not on the agenda of the meeting, there was no question of approving it or not.
He said the topic of fast growing population was placed on the agenda of the meeting after the Supreme Court directed the federal government to follow the recommendations of a previous task force that were also submitted before the apex court.
Sindh chief minister’s spokesman Murtaza Wahab told Dawn that the population of the province was quite higher than what was shown in the census.
“The CCI meeting focused on the issue of population welfare but not on the results of the 2017 census,” he said, adding that the participation of Murad Ali Shah in the meeting did not mean that Sindh had no objections over the census.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement had also rejected the census results.
The meeting approved privatisation of two Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (R-LNG) power plants.
“The CCI, in principle, approved a proposal to include two R-LNG facilities namely — 1,230MW Haveli Bahadur Shah and 1,223MW Balloki owned by National Power Parks Management Company Limited on the active list of the privatisation programme for early implementation,” an official press release said.
The meeting unanimously emphasised upon the need for greater focus towards renewable energy in existing energy mix.
There was a consensus among the participants to place greater focus on further improving ease of doing business in order to attract investments and to promote industries for realising the export potential of the country.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2018