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ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has decided to hold another meeting (virtual one), on Monday, on the matter of notifying population census-2017, whereas, it constituted a committee to develop consensus among provinces on the issue of LNG import.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the 44th meeting of the CCI presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken up a number of issues. The meeting decided to establish a permanent Secretariat of the CCI as required under article 154(3) of the Constitution. This is for the first time that a permanent Secretariat of the CCI has been established to meet the long overdue Constitutional requirement.

The CCI also approved Nepra’s annual report for 2019-20, ‘State of Industry Report 2020’ and amendments in Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy 2012.

The meeting was also presented an implementation report on the decisions previously taken by the CCI. The observations of the provinces were also incorporated in the Nepra’s annual report 2018-19 and ‘State of Industry Report, 2019’; and the reports presented before the meeting were approved as instructed by the previous meeting.

On the issue of import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and implementation of Article 158 and 172(3) of the Constitution, the meeting decided to constitute a committee comprising Minister for Planning, Minister for Energy, and Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) for Power and Petroleum to hold consultations with the provinces, so as to evolve a consensus on the way forward in meeting the challenge of dwindling local gas reserves and increasing domestic gas requirements.

The meeting also decided that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be the sole standard setting national organisation with regards to higher education in the country and it will strengthen its regional centers for better representation and coordination with the provinces.

The CCI has decided – in order to further improve ease of doing business and harmonisation of quality and standards across the country – that provinces would notify harmonised standards set by Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) by repealing their own standards.

It was also agreed that harmonisation of standards, standardised labelling and certification marks logo would remain the exclusive domain of the PSQCA.

On the issue of distribution of zakat funds to the provinces, the federal areas in the wake of 25th Constitutional Amendment, the meeting, while agreeing on the ‘Zakat Distribution Fund Formula’, decided that after the merger of FATA into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, zakat funds for the area, as per the agreed formula, will be transferred to the KP province for distribution among the deserving people of the merged districts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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