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LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet is all set to meet for its eighth sitting on Friday (tomorrow) with a heavy 26-point agenda focusing on Punjab Growth Strategy and considering a long list of legislation.

The cabinet meeting to be chaired by chief minister Usman Buzdar is expected to give a go-ahead to the Punjab Growth Strategy 2023, draft of which was approved by the CM in a meeting at Planning and Development (P&D) Board on Wednesday.

The growth strategy envisages increase in growth rate and promotion of investment in collaboration with the private sector. Expressing distrust on the geographical imbalances with regard to development by the past governments, the meeting resolved to achieve the goal of balanced geographical development.

26-point agenda focuses on Punjab Growth Strategy and various draft laws

On the legislative front, the cabinet will review The Punjab Witness Protection Act, 2018; amendment in the Punjab e-Stamp Rules, 2016; The Punjab Animal Health Bill, 2019; regulatory measures for the Prevention and Control of Dengue Epidemic-Approval of Temporary Regulations, 2019; request for shifting of Houbara Bustard from third Schedule to First Schedule of the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) (Amendment) Act, 2017.

The Standing Committee of Cabinet on Legislative Business has also recommended 12 items to be discussed by the cabinet. They are: amendment in Benevolent Fund Rules for enhancement of rates for grants and eligibility criteria for monthly grant; transfer of state land for 720mw Karot Power Project; Royalty on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) by the E&P companies at the market value of LPG; notification regarding establishment of Punjab University of Technology, Rasul, District Mandi Bahauddin; request for declaring ordinary sand as essential commodity under the Punjab Essential Article (Control) Act, 1973; amendment in second Schedule of the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012; construction of Jalalpur Canal Project – contract agreement with Project Implementation Consultants (PIC); amendment in the rules issued under Canal and Drainage Act, VIII of 1873.

The cabinet will also discuss legislative business comprising draft bill Punjab Health Foundation Act, 2018; status of public sector companies to be closed; proposed amendment in the LDA Land Use Rules, 2014 regarding marriage/banquet halls and marquees; and establishment of Workers Welfare Fund in Punjab.

The cabinet will take up a request from the energy department for temporary funding for the retirement of LCS Secured against Government Guarantee and Debit Authority in relation to Punjab Thermal Power (Private) Limited.

The finance department has brought on agenda special audit reports of Auditor General of Pakistan on the accounts of Punjab government for the audit year 2016-17; and reduced rates schemes under Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012.

The population welfare department has presented a request for the financing of Population Welfare Programme Punjab (2017-2020) through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) as well as Devolved Vertical Programmes of Health and Population Welfare.

The housing, urban development department’s two agenda items look for the nomination of members of board of directors of Parks and Horticulture Authority, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad.

The cabinet is also supposed to ratify the Standing Committee of Cabinet on Finance and Development’s three meetings held in January and February, this year.

ADP: The chief minister at the P&D Board meeting also reviewed current provincial Annual Development Programme 2018-19 as well as discussed salient features of proposed ADP for the next fiscal 2019-20.

The chief minister expressed his displeasure over the failure of some departments in the timely utilisation of development funds released for different schemes during the current financial year. He directed timely completion of public welfare schemes as well as timely utilisation of funds for projects.

He said the respective departments should ensure that there should be no delay in the utilisation of development funds.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019