• PM approves summary to allocate funds for publicity, clear dues of media houses
• Ministry says advertisements necessary to inform citizens

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, upon the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Friday approved Rs1 billion for advertisement campaigns to promote activities and success stories of the government.

The hurriedly called one-point meeting of the ECC was presided over by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on a summary moved by the Ministry of Informa­tion and Broadcasting.

The meeting was informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the summary for additional allocation of Rs1bn funds for publicity to address inadequacy in undertaking a planned advertisement campaign as well as to clear the outstanding advertisement dues of media houses.

The ECC, therefore, approved Rs1bn as technical supplementary grant to lau­nch a comprehensive well-thought-out campaign in the electronic and print media within the ongoing financial year to promote the government’s achievements.

An informed source said the ECC was informed that the government’s initiatives and success stories were not getting proper coverage in the media and people were generally unaware of what the government was doing for their welfare.

The information ministry advocated that advertisements were an effective instrument to inform and educate the general public on public-oriented initiatives of the government, a senior official at the finance ministry told Dawn.

Many far-reaching reforms, initiatives and projects of the government which include economic and financial reforms, housing and infrastructure projects, bouquet of initiatives under Ehsaas umbrella programmes as well as in sectors like information technology.

Food security, power and energy and many other projects have not been appropriately highlighted through advertisements in the formal print and electronic media.

“Moreover, success stories of the incumbent government which among many include attracting record remittances, improving the foreign currency reserves at record level, keeping the current account balance in the positive territory” have not been properly projected.

Likewise, other feathers like enhancing exports while curtailing imports and encouraging made-in-Pakistan products, record growth in large-scale manufacturing, reviving the construction sector, curbing environment degradation, reforming tourism and travelling infrastructure and scores of success stories in other fields have not been property advertised.

“Resultantly, the desired impact of these reforms and initiatives which have direct and far-reaching positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the general public, and progress and prosperity of the country remain under-projected,” the summary claimed.

Additionally, the “exemplary management of Covid-19 pandemic”, so far, compared to many other countries has successfully and effectively saved the lives and livelihood of the people in Pakistan, and the government’s ongoing efforts to provide vaccination to the people in an orderly and systematic manner remain under-projected in the conventional print and electronic media.

Therefore, the information ministry advocated that there was an immediate and pressing need to make an inventory of all the initiatives of the government, build a narrative around them to inform the people about the policies the government had initiated for public good.

“This needs to be launched in a comprehensive, well thought-out publicity campaign to gain maximum mileage in terms of earning the goodwill of the people of Pakistan,” the summary said.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2021

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