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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has, once again, vowed to bring down the prices of essential commodities, and directed his economic team to put in place a well-coordinated system by taking provinces on board to check the requirements of sugar and wheat in the country as well as removal of all the hurdles in imports so that availability of staple food items could be ensured.

While chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday, the premier directed the Ministry of Food to prepare a comprehensive package for farmers soon after the briefing by the ministry about availability of wheat to meet the country's requirement that availability of 1.5 million metric tons of wheat would be ensured till January 31, 2021.

The federal cabinet to check the quality of imported wheat has allowed four inspection companies to examine the wheat imported by Trading Corporation of Pakistan and granted approval for export of animals to the Middle East countries.

The Ministry of Commerce briefed the meeting about the import of wheat whereas the Ministry of Industries and Production about import of sugar. Industries Ministry informed the meeting about availability of 266,939 metric tons of sugar in the country at present, and private sector has already imported 99,639 metric ton sugar, and additional 52951 metric tons would be available in the month of November 2020.

There would be about three million tons of sugar available in the country by Nov 30, 2020, the meeting was informed. The Minister for Planning and Development briefed the cabinet meeting about the economic indicators, and stated that an increase of 27 percent was recorded in exports, exchange rate has been stabilising, and tax collection of Rs1004 billion during July-August 2020 was higher than the projected, while 3.7 percent growth in LSM was noted.

The Ministry of Railways gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet meeting about restructuring plan. The meeting was told that a comprehensive plan has been prepared to make the Railways a profitable and autonomous organization.

The meeting was further informed that the restructuring plan has been prepared in the light of directives by the apex court and the Ministry of Finance, Law and Establishment Division have endorsed the plan. The prime minister was confident that the plan would help timely completion of ML-1.

The establishment division briefed the cabinet meeting about the vacant post of chief executive officers and managing directors in different ministries' division and their allied departments, and the meeting was informed that at present 129 posts of CEOs and MDs are vacant in the federal government.

The meeting was further told that 33 posts are vacant due to mergers of various departments, and the prime minister directed that all the vacant posts should be filled within three months and sought report of those vacancies that could not be fulfilled owing to some reasons in the next cabinet meeting.

The Law Ministry briefed the meeting about legal reforms, and cabinet instructed it to submit a draft of reforms to the cabinet committee on legal reforms. The meeting endorsed the ECC decisions of October 19, gave approval to formation of a board for medical and dental academic under Medical Commission Act 2020, and reduced conviction period.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020