ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary has said that the federal cabinet has decided to increase gas price for captive power to nine cents per MMBTU from 6.5 cents.
This he stated while briefing the media about the decisions taken by the federal cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister said that the inflation would come down in the next few months.
The minister for information said that the cabinet had decided to abolish all taxes on trade with Afghanistan except on apples.
He said that there is (in Afghanistan) a humanitarian crisis and especially children are suffering and things are getting out of control.
He said that children are being sold for flour and rice and this situation cannot be ignored. He said that on Thursday, foreign minister of the interim government of Afghanistan is coming to Pakistan and this issue would be discussed with him, as well.
He said that 22 million people in Afghanistan are suffering from hunger.
He said that the dependence of Afghan economy was on foreign aid and now as there is no aid, the economy of Afghanistan has meltdown.
The minister said that most people of Afghanistan were living on 1.09 dollar per day, when Kabul fell, and now the UN is saying that it might have been halved.
The federal minister for information said that a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Afghanistan would also discuss this issue besides other issues. He said that the federal government has established a fund for Afghan people and Pakistanis can deposit donations. We will export rice and wheat to Afghanistan, he said.
Fawad said that the Federal Cabinet has approved inclusion in the mandatory list of Pakistan Standards and Quality to maintain the quality of locally made features.
The prime minister also directed the ministers to ensure their presence during the joint sitting of the parliament, so that important legislation can be adopted, he said.
The cabinet was also briefed about the vacant positions of CEO and MD in the Ministry of Science and Technology and Food Security and both the ministries have been directed to fill the posts.
The minister said that owing to the increase in RLNG price in the international market, the price for captive power has been increased from 6.5 cents to nine cents per MMBTU, whereas, for remaining exporting units, the price of gas would remain 6.5 cents per MMBTU.
The price would be effective from November 15 to March 31.
The domestic sector would be exempted.
He also said that the decision was taken to prevent misuse of the gas as captive power started making electricity and were misusing gas for power production.
He said that gas production was depleting by nine percent annually and to prevent the misuse, the concession to this sector has been withdrawn till March 22. He said that Joint secretary energy division has been appointed as temporary Managing Director NTDC.
He said that this has nothing to do with the domestic sector.
He said that only 27 percent of domestic sector has been using the pipe gas and remaining using LPG gas.
The minister said that gas and oil prices are linked with the international prices and the country would not survive, if everything is to be subsidized.
The minister said that in order to promote local tourism, the leasing of the PTDC properties in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the private sector has been approved in a transparent manner.
Fawad said that the federal cabinet has decided that the same project will be there for Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, at present, the trend of tourism is spreading very fast.
He said that leasing of PTDC properties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab has been approved, while Balochistan said that it would take a final decision and inform about it.
Fawad said that they want to hand over the properties of the PTDC to the provinces, so that they can lease them themselves and this is the offer we have made to the Sindh government.
He said that the Sindh government should also lease the property of PTDC to the private sector.
Replying to question, he said that the opposition had tried to remove the government during the last three years but had failed and it will have to wait not just for the remaining two years but also for the next five years too.
He said that the opposition has no leader and no programme, and the opposition leader should bring the former prime minister back to the country to fulfil the commitment made by him before the court. “The opposition should first learn to stand on its own feet.” The federal minister for information said that inflation will come to a halt in the next few months, and “we will go for elections in 2023”.
Responding to a question about the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), he said that the process of dialogue with the banned organisation would be under the constitution; therefore, all warring groups must respect the constitution of Pakistan.
“There are all Pakistanis in the TTP and the state wants to give them a chance. If they show their loyalty to Pakistan, we will definitely give them a chance,” he said.
He further stated that Pakistan must talk to the TTP from a position of strength and Afghanistan authorities also wanted Pakistan to negotiate.
Afghanistan’s new leadership wants peace in Pakistan.
He said locals and war victims would also be included in the talks.
He said that it was decided to set-up 911 helpline in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Information, after which, all other helplines would be merged into 911.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021