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Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production on Tuesday suggested making use of 750 acres of land to construct state of the art shipyard in Gwadar.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum (retd) in which the committee observed that there is no ship building facility in the entire gulf region, and Gwadar offers an ideal location for construction of state of the art shipyard.
Committee was briefed on the current status of Gwadar Shipyard project on an area of 750 acres of land. Chairman Committee observed that shipyards are considered strategic assets for any country as they not only contribute to country's indigenous commercial and defence pursuits but also earn lot of revenue through ship exports. The Committee emphasized the need to expedite the work on the project for its completion in a given time frame.
The committee decided to take up the matter with the Balochistan government and write a letter to the Chief Minister in this regard. The Committee also decided to have an exclusive session on the overall progress made on the Gwadar Shipyard project.
During the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee highlighted that at the time of creation of Pakistan, we only inherited one shipyard at Chittagong which was modernized in 1922 by the British. Bangladesh now has 23 shipyards and has become ship exporting country, he added. Pakistan, he pointed out, remains dependent on Karachi Shipyard and engineering Works Limited (KS&EW) constructed in 1957.
The Committee was also briefed on the Status of Audit Paras in the Public Accounts Committee. It was informed that currently more than 550 audit paras remain pending before the PAC and efforts are being made to settle them as early as possible. Chairman of the Committee directed the ministry to vigorously pursue the pending paras and settle them at the earliest.
Secretary Defence Production Lt Gen Dr. Zahid Latif (retd) informed that a total of 100 billion rupees budget was allocated for the ministry out of which 78 billion rupees have been utilized. It was informed that aim of the defence production institutions is meet the requirements of the Armed Forces and self-reliance through indigenization and contribute to the overall development of the country via effectively marketing the products.
Chairman Committee observed that Defence production institutions need to adopt outward policy and we should establish the defence production organizations as public private interface to make it compatible with the international markets. The Chairman Committee emphasized that no compromise should be made on the quality to remain internationally competitive. The Committee called for making the defence production establishments more vibrant to compete in the international markets.
Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said that the committee should be provided with the balance sheet depicting the income and expenditure details while Senator Pervaiz Rashid suggested for adopting an open up approach to transform the Defence Production institutions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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