PM Imran seeks report on rain damage in Balochistan

Published January 8, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan presides over a meeting to review preparations for “Diamond Jubilee 2022” celebrations to mark 75 years of the country’s independence, on Friday. — PID
Prime Minister Imran Khan presides over a meeting to review preparations for “Diamond Jubilee 2022” celebrations to mark 75 years of the country’s independence, on Friday. — PID

• Directs NDMA to provide relief to affected people in Gwadar, Turbat
• Terms expected economic growth rate ‘huge achievement’
• Orders action against those creating artificial shortage of urea

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday sought a report from Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo on the damage caused by recent rains in the province and directed the National Disaster Manage­ment Authority (NDMA) to immediately provide relief to those affected in Gwadar and Turbat.

According to an official announcement, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to provide all possible assistance to those affected due to rains in Balochistan.

Many areas of northern Balochistan have been cut off from Quetta as vehicular traffic has been suspended on highways which have been blocked due to heavy rain and snowfall that started lashing the region on Thursday evening. Although, no further rains were reported in the coastal areas of Makran division but rain and flash flood water were still accumulated on main roads and in the old residential areas of Gwadar. Army, navy and Frontier Corps personnel have already shifted hundreds of people to safe places after rescuing them from the affected areas.

According to official figures, 2,478 families have been affected while the road link to 22 villages has been cut off. The recent torrential rains have broken a large number of small dams across Gwadar district, affecting 41 villages and 1,786 households and more than 10,000 people in Kulanch.

Macroeconomic Advisory Group

Presiding over a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group, the prime minister said that despite the worst balance of payments crisis in the history of Pakistan in 2018, economic difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic, high commodity prices in the global market and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan having direct and indirect impact on Pakistan, the economic growth was still expected to be above four per cent, which was a huge achievement.

Mr Khan said the government’s policies of smart lockdown and incentives for the construction industry, social protection programmes and subsidies for industries and small and medium enterprises kept the economy growing at a steady pace which had been praised by commentators globally.

Mr Khan said the government’s three years were an economic success story as it had inherited a huge circular debt, anti-export policies, unsustainable fiscal conditions, less competitive business environment and policies of lack of incentive for the private sector.

The prime minister directed the departments concerned to coordinate and implement the long-term and short-term plans for further betterment of macroeconomic condition of the country and improvement in economic condition of the people.

The meeting was given a comprehensive overview of overall economic situation of the country, the government’s steps to mitigate the effects of high commodity prices on people and the government’s achievements in the last three years.

The meeting was informed that after successfully averting the crisis that the previous government had left, robust economic stabilisation measures were taken which resulted in high growth compared to all regional countries even in the tested times of Covid-19.

The participants were told that the exports had shown an increase of 25pc, tax revenues were record high with an increase of 38pc and remittances had also increased by 27pc. The meeting was told about record high profits of Rs950bn by industries, boom in information technology and reduction in monthly circular debt after successful IPP tariff agreements.

In addition to the above, the meeting noted, government fulfilled its promise of a welfare state by launching the biggest social safety programme under Ehsaas, brought institutional reforms and successfully complied with the FATF’s conditions which saved the country from going into the black list.

The meeting was also presented with proposals to mitigate the transfer of the effects of high global commodity prices on people.

The proposals include an increase in incomes and purchasing power of the people, subsidies focused on middle and lower income classes and expansion of social safety net.

Those who attended the meeting included federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister for Industries Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, Minister for National Food Security Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM Dr Sania Nishtar and State Bank Governor Raza Baqir.

Meeting on fertilisers

The prime minister presided over a meeting to take stock of supply and demand of fertilisers, especially urea, in the country.

Stating that there was 25,000 tons daily production of urea in the country and there was no shortage, the prime minister declared that all those involved in creating artificial shortage would be dealt with iron hands.

Mr Khan highlighted that the country had produced record bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane, cotton and maize during last year and Rs822bn additional income was earned by the farmers during fiscal year 2020-21 due to agriculture-friendly policies of the government. The additional income had resulted into more urea purchase by the farmers, he said.

“The government is focused on providing adequate quantity of fertiliser for maximum wheat production to ensure food security,” said the prime minister, adding that the availability of fertiliser to the farmers, especially in next three weeks, was very crucial to have a bumper wheat crop.

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take all possible measures for the effective management of supply chain of urea for Rabi crops. He directed the provincial chief secretaries to put a curb on hoarding, smuggling and buying of urea by middleman outside the fertiliser supply chain through district administration authorities.

He directed all the authorities concerned to work with all stakeholders, including producers of fertilisers, to ensure adequate supply of urea to the farmers to achieve record wheat production this year.

Diamond jubilee celebrations

Prime Minister Imran Khan also presided over a meeting to review preparations for “Diamond Jubilee 2022” celebrations to mark 75 years of the country’s independence.

Mr Khan said that during the diamond jubilee events, the ideology and views of Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal would be highlighted. He said the world would see Pakistanis as a united and strong nation on the coming Independence Day.

Mr Khan directed that the contents regarding the celebrations should be unique, authentic and according to history. The core message of the diamond jubilee celebrations was unity, justice and independence, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2022



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