ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday decided to implement National Energy Efficiency and Conservation (NEEC) plan with full vigour across the country and, as a first step, formed a committee to cut 30 per cent use of electricity in government offices.
A meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also decided to complete consultation with the provinces on the plan, commonly called ‘energy saving plan’, that was announced by the premier on Tuesday.
In a separate meeting, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to swiftly implement the Kissan package to provide relief to farmers and boost agriculture growth in the country.
The committee on reduction of 30pc consumption of electricity in government offices comprises the ministers for energy and planning, the minister of state for petroleum and natural resources and relevant secretaries.
PM orders swift implementation of Kissan package
According to the Prime Minister Office, the cabinet meeting was informed that the Ministry of Information and the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority have also prepared an awareness campaign about energy saving and austerity.
“The prime minister directed completion of the consultation process with all the stakeholders, including the provincial governments, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan governments as soon as possible to ensure the implementation of the ‘proposed energy saving plan,” said an official press release.
PM Sharif emphasised that the nation needed to adopt austerity measures with regard to energy and urgently required change in attitudes. He said the implementation of the energy saving plan and the use of alternative energy were indispensable to reduce the import bill in terms of fuel.
The cabinet condemned the arrest of senior parliamentarian Chaudhry Ashraf by the Punjab government in a 53-year-old case as a step of political vendetta.
The cabinet offered Fateha for those martyred during incidents of terrorism in different parts of the country. It paid tribute to the security forces for their continuous fight against terrorism.
The meeting was given a detailed briefing by the Ministry of Industries and Production on generalisation of the use of electric motorbikes across the country.
It was highlighted that currently 90 companies were manufacturing motorcycles and auto rickshaws in the country with a capacity to manufacture 6m motorcycles annually. It was informed that 22 companies had been issued licences to manufacture electric bikes in Pakistan. The meeting was informed that promotion of electric bikes would save a lot in terms of fuel.
The prime minister issued instructions for submission of a detailed plan regarding electric bikes to the Economic Coordination Committee.
The cabinet approved the Government-to-Government Commercial Transaction Act 2022 (G2G Commercial Transaction Act 2022). On the recommendation of the Board of Investment, the cabinet approved, in principle, the One Stop Service Act to provide facilities to investors in special economic zones established across the country.
Later, presiding over a separate meeting, PM Sharif said development of agriculture sector is the guarantor of food security and directed accelerating the implementation of Kissan package to facilitate the farmers.
In October this year, the government had announced a special package of Rs1,800 billion to promote the agriculture sector, including provision of free seeds and inexpensive loans and bringing down the prices of fertilisers and electricity for tube wells.
PM Sharif stressed the need for ensuring food security in Pakistan at all costs and directed the authorities concerned to pay special attention to cultivation and production of wheat, cotton, canola and olive. He called for ensuring supply of better seeds to increase production of other food grains, including pulses.
The meeting was informed about the implementation of Kissan package, youth loan scheme, interest waiver for small farmers and provision of interest-free agricultural loans to small farmers in the flood-affected areas through State Bank’s notification to banks, for which instructions have been issued.
In the current financial year till November, agricultural loans worth Rs664 billion have been given to farmers, which is 36pc more compared to the loans disbursed during the same period of previous financial year.
Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2022