Cabinet agrees to constitute Commission to investigate Broadsheet matter
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs Federal Cabinet meeting. APP

ISLAMABAD, Jan 26 (APP): The federal cabinet, which met here Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair, was told that the rate of inflation recorded at 6.4% in the month of December 2020 was expected to come down further during the coming months.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar told the cabinet that with the rate of inflation recorded at around 11.1% last year, the percentage of inflation during first six months of the current fiscal year (July-December, 2020) was recorded at 8.6 percent.

The participants were told that the exchange rate was stable whereas the country’s stock market was at the highest level after April 2018.

He briefed the cabinet regarding marked improvement in the country’s economic indicators recorded during July-December period of the current fiscal year (2020-21).

The participants were told that the country’s exports, as compared to several previous years, witnessed increase during the last six months, whereas workers’ remittances also recorded an increase of US$ 2.8 billion.

With US$ 2 billion increase recorded in the country’s foreign exchange reserves as compared to last year, tax collection also registered 7.9 percent increase in the month of December alone, it was told.

The meeting was further told that the utilization of funds under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) also recorded 7.4 percent increase over the last year, which was a record first six months’ increase in the utilization of PSDP funds in eight years.

The cabinet was told that with revenue receipts surpassing expenditures, the country’s agriculture sector performed well as the production of rice, cane and maize recorded the growth of 10%, 13% and 9%, respectively.

With encouraging growth in manufacturing, Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector, which recorded 7.4% increase this year, registered 14.5% growth in the month of December alone, a record increase in 12 years.

ALSO READ  PM to open virtual 14th ECO Summit on Thursday, share Pakistan's perspective on COVID-19 challenges

The meeting was briefed in detail regarding the Constitutional Amendment for open balloting in Senate elections.

Advisor on Institutional Reforms and Austerity gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet regarding the institutional reforms, as proposed by the Task Force on Austerity and Restructuring of the Government, including the abolition of 70,000 vacant posts in the federal ministries and divisions and reducing the number of federal government institutions from 441 to 324.

The cabinet was told that with no increase in the expenditures of ministries and institutions during the last two years, recommendations based on reforms regarding the restructuring of seven institutions have been given to the relevant ministries for implementation.

Progress on the implementation of these reforms was continuously being reviewed.

The meeting was briefed about significant improvement in the performance of ministries, progress on the targets set for the completion of E-filing, reduction in expenditures, reforms regarding monetization and increasing the limit of funds released by divisions under the PSDP.

The cabinet was also briefed about the implementation of these reforms and the roadmap of expected results.

The meeting agreed to constitute a commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act 2017, instead of a committee, to investigate the matter of Broadsheet, UK asset recovery firm.

The federal cabinet also reiterated its resolve to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 in an effective manner.

The meeting approved the cabinet committee’s recommendations regarding bringing the National Disaster Management Fund under administrative control of the Ministry of Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives as well as the permanent administrative structure of the institutions.

The cabinet approved the accession documents regarding Pakistan’s membership of International Network on Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).

ALSO READ  PM stresses pooling ECO resources for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine

The meeting, in the light of the decision of Islamabad High Court (IHC), approved reconstitution of the committee regarding regularization of daily wage and contract employees.

The federal cabinet approved six months extension in the application of Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 on all grades’ employment under the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies.

The meeting also approved six months extension in the application of Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 on the employees of Pakistan Security Printing Corporation and Security Papers Limited Karachi.

The cabinet approved the appointment of Chartered Accountant Firm for auditing the accounts of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for fiscal year 2019-20.

It also approved the recommendations of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination regarding the import of Covid-19 vaccine.

The cabinet approved the draft Workers Welfare Fund Housing Allotment Policy 2020 and the subsequent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Workers Welfare Fund and Naya Pakistan Housing Authority under the policy.

It also endorsed the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committees on Institutional Reforms and Energy in their separate meetings held, respectively, on January 7 and 14 and January 18 and 21, 2021.

The meeting also endorsed the decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on State Matters during their separate meetings held on January 20, 2021.

The cabinet approved the appointment of Secretary Workers Welfare Fund.

Regarding election of the Board of Directors of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), the meeting approved the nominations of Syed Khalid Siraj, Zafar Masood, Maham Riaz Khan, Shamama-tul-Ambar Arbab, Jahanzeb Durrani and Akbar Ayub Khan.