PM wants action plan for agriculture sector

Updated 24 Sep 2020

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan chairing the meeting on agriculture reforms. — PPI
PRIME Minister Imran Khan chairing the meeting on agriculture reforms. — PPI

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directed the federal food security ministry and the provinces to gather accurate data regarding agriculture production, its consumption, wastage and exports so that the government could exactly know about the demand and supply of commodities.

Presiding over a meeting held to review reforms in the agricultural sector, the prime minister called for an action plan based on timelines for medium and long-term projects in the agricultural sector to increase production and ensure modernisation in the sector.

“The prime minister directed to collect accurate and reliable data on production estimates of various commodities, and to expedite the process of activating the National Food Security Dashboard at the Ministry of Food Security with assistance of the provinces and departments concerned,” said an official press release issued by the PM Office.

To increase agricultural production and address food security challenges, the prime minister called for measures for processing of agricultural commodities.

Demands accurate data on farm output, consumption, exports; apex committee planned to promote economic diplomacy

A detailed briefing on the situation, progress on the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Emergency Programme and increasing production of various commodities was given to the meeting.

Prime Minister Khan stressed the need for robust and integrated system of coordination among all stakeholders, including research institutes, universities and related institutions.

He emphasised on using the experience of China to ensure full utilisation of its expertise and cooperation. The prime minister also directed the authorities to reorganise the agro-ecological zones.

He affirmed support to commodities such as olives and pulses, which needed imports to meet their domestic need.

Pakistan Citizens Portal

At a separate meeting, the prime minister directed his office’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) to link all complaint cells of the federal government departments with the Pakistan Citizen Portal (PCP).

He asked the PMDU to complete the process within 60 days to determine modalities in consultation with organisations concerned and chalk out integration plans.

Presently, a number of complaint cells are operational, both manual and based on information and communication technology, under the federal government’s organisations.

The Pakistan Citizens Portal is the most vibrant complaint resolution system in the country which is working under the PMDU since October 2018. During the last two years, 28 million people have registered 115,000 complaints per month on the system with 2.3 million complaints lodged.

The meeting was told that an impressive raft of public complaints, i.e., 2.2 million, had been resolved with 40 per cent confirmed satisfaction.

The purpose of the process is to achieve the government’s goal of promoting social accountability, empowering the citizens and improving service delivery.

The new system will avoid confusion on part of the citizens due to multiple complaint cells. Instead, all complaints will be processed in real time and in a uniform manner.

The PMDU, including the PCP, is managed by the Prime Minister’s Office (public). All complaint handling processes under the PCP are backed by a user’s guidelines manual for complaint and suggestions handling.

Diplomatic outreach

Chairing another meeting, Prime Minister Khan decided to constitute an economic outreach apex committee, to be headed by his special assistant Dr Moeed Yousaf as focal person, to further promote economic diplomacy.

For coordination among various federal ministries, provincial departments and other institutions and for achievement of targets, it was also decided to constitute an economic outreach coordination group, the PM Office’s media wing said in a press release.

During the meeting, a roadmap of local potential with respect to promotion of economic diplomacy, existing challenges and steps to overcome those issues was also submitted before the prime minister.

The prime minister underlined the need to promote economic diplomacy and said it was need of the hour, because through it, Pakistan could further strengthen bilateral ties with different countries and fully explore its potential in the economic field.

He directed the Pakistani embassies and missions abroad to focus on the promotion of this initiative.

The prime minister also directed the Board of Investment to provide all possible facilities to foreign investors who were keen to invest in different sectors of the country.

Prime Minister Khan also approved in principle upgrade of Karachi-Quetta-Chaman road to expressway, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting retd Lt- Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

Asim Bajwa, who is also chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, said in a tweet the 790 kilometers long road passed through the most neglected areas of the country where accident ratio was the highest due to poor condition of the road.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for advocating Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“Deeply appreciated, President Erdogan has once again raised his voice in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people during his address to the UNGA. Turkey’s unwavering support remains a source of strength for Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle for self determination,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

The Turkish president had said Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan was a “burning issue” and called for resolving it through dialogue. “The Kashmir conflict, which is also key to the stability and peace of South Asia, is still a burning issue,” he said in a speech he made via video-link at the 193-member UNGA’s landmark 75th session.

“Steps taken following the abolition of the special status of Jammu-Kashmir further complicated the problem,” he said, referring to the August 5, 2019 unilateral move by India to annex the disputed territory.

“We are in favour of solving this issue through dialogue, within the framework of the United Nations resolutions and especially in line with the expectations of the people of Kashmir,” the Turkish leader said.

The Kashmir dispute is on the agenda of the UN Security Council, which has adopted at least 11 resolutions since 1948 that call for an impartial plebiscite to determine the wishes of the people of the disputed state.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020