Issuance of NOCs for defence products’ import curtailed by 90% in three years: Minister

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ISLAMABAD, July 28 (APP): Federal Minister for Science and
Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain Thursday said Pakistan had achieved tremendous progress in defence items production especially during last three years.

He said the government had curtailed the number of No-Objection Certificates (NOCs), which were issued for import of defence items and different equipment, by 90 per cent in last three years.

“When the PML-N government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took over three years ago, around 1,000 NOCs were issued, during a certain period. While, our ministry has curtailed it to 100 as we believe that the country is capable enough to produce majority items indigenously,” he said.

The minister was addressing the participants of a seminar titled “Role of Education, Science and Technology in National Security,” organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the University of Management and Technology (UMT) Lahore.

Rana Tanveer, who is also Minister for Defence Production, said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, after coming into power in 2013, adopted a strategy for effective collaboration among research and development institutes and security departments aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in the field of defence production.

Presently, he said, there was a good coordination among the Ministries of Science and Technology, Defence Production and other R&D institutes, which were working in line with the requirements of the security departments.

He expressed the resolve that the annual budget for Research and Development (R&D), which was around 0.29 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, to increase at least to one percent by 2018.

Rana Tanveer highlighted importance of promoting quality education and R&D activities, saying that improved technology and prosperity was vital for the national security as it could not be achieved through strong defence only.

He paid tribute to Muslim scholars and Pakistani scientists for excelling in their fields despite having meager resources.

He said there was the need for a strong commitment especially at educational as well as the policy-making level to make advancement in the field of science and technology at par with the developed countries.

The minister reiterated that imparting quality and market-oriented education to students was the key for attaining prosperity and excelling in the field of research and development.

Earlier, Director General ISSI Ambassador Masood Khan, Adviser Research and Development, Higher Education Commission Islamabad Dr Muhammad Latif, Vice Chancellor University of Punjab Dr Mujahid Kamran, former chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Pervez Butt, Executive Director, Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South, COMSATS Dr Imtinan elahi Qureshi and Rector National University of Science and Technology Islamabad Engr Muhammad Asghar also spoke on the occasion and expressed their views on different dimensions of education, security, research and development.