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Pakistan

Cabinet approves seasonal electricity package, holding census in 2022

  • Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says Pandora Papers probe to look at 3-4 categories of Pakistanis named in the leaks
Updated 05 Oct, 2021

The federal cabinet has approved the seasonal electricity package, while also giving the green light to holding Pakistan's seventh population census in 2022, it was announced on Tuesday.

Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar tweeted the approval of the electricity package, while Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar announced the cabinet's decision on holding the census. The approvals came in the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran on Tuesday.

"Any additional electricity consumed by domestic and commercial consumers during November-February compared to same time previous year will have a discount of Rs5 to 7 per each unit," tweeted Azhar.

The main purpose of this incentive will be to encourage maximum use of surplus power, so that capacity payment to power producers may be reduced, which is one of the key factors of increase inflow of circular debt. The government has already announced an industrial support package recently.

On the census, Umar said that the exercise would be held using modern digital technology and will be consistent with global best practices.

He added that the proposal will be moved to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for its approval. "This will be first time in Pak history census will be held with a gap of only 5 years," Umar tweeted.

Background on census

Pakistan has held six census rounds since 1947. While the first four were held at regular intervals of around 10 years, the fifth was held 17 years after the previous one. The latest census, held in 2017, was held after a gap of 19 years, according to data available with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Design: Hussain Afzal
Design: Hussain Afzal

Pandora Papers

Meanwhile, addressing a presser following the cabinet meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that the high-level cell, formed under an inspection commission to probe over 700 Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers, has been categorised into different sections.

Pandora Papers: All those named will be answerable, says Fawad

"Initially, the PM Inspection Commission, under which a cell has been created, will look at the the 3-4 categories," said Fawad. "This includes Pakistanis who have offshore companies and have declared it, those who have offshore companies but have not declared it. Similarly, those who have not revealed their offshore companies in the wealth declaration, and those who have laundered money," the minister said, adding that different arms of the government including the Federal Board of Revenue, Federal Investigation Agency, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will conduct the investigations falling within their purviews.

Meanwhile, Fawad has said that the cabinet has also approved the seasonal electricity package.

NAB chairman's extension

Regarding extension of NAB chairman (retd) Justice Javed Iqbal's tenure, the information minister said that the topic did not come under discussion.

"It did not come under discussion, but it has been completed," said Fawad, referring to the draft for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman’s appointment.

NAB chief one step away from tenure extension?

Earlier, the Law and Justice Ministry had prepared a draft for extension of Justice Iqbal’s tenure under a Presidential Ordinance. Through the presidential ordinance, the incumbent NAB chairman will be able to continue his duties till the appointment of the new chairman, sources told Business Recorder.

An official, who wished not to be named, said under Section 6 (b) of the NAB Ordinance, 1999, a NAB chairman’s tenure cannot be extended, adding this was the reason the government had to issue an ordinance to pave way for the incumbent chairman to continue his duties.

Comments

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Mushtaque Ahmed Oct 05, 2021 09:28pm
Pandora Papers, initially, have unveiled names of 700 Pakistanis having a population of 220 million. While names of 300 Indians have been reported out of a population of 1.39 billion. This denotes the high level of corruption among the elite of Pakistan that must be fixed and blocked for good.
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