- Government announces formation of a commission on fertilizer shortages and irregularities in subsidies
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has announced the formation of a commission on fertilizer shortages and irregularities in subsidies.
Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail also showed a letter calming that it proves former prime minister Imran Khan is “incompetent”.
The federal cabinet was briefed on the current economic and political situation prevailing in the country.
Marriyum said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is trying to provide relief to the people of Pakistan after taking office. She said inflation has hit the people of Pakistan hard over the last four years.
She said that the first priority of the ruling coalition is to provide all possible relief to the people. It was an eight-point agenda meeting including the economic situation, energy and law and order were discussed in the meeting.
The cabinet members were first briefed on the e-cabinet system. They were also briefed by the Finance Division about the current economic situation and challenges. The Cabinet was given a detailed briefing on LNG and petroleum.
She said that the prime minister has reduced the price of 10kg bag of flour from Rs550 to Rs400 for Ramadan. This relief will be for the whole Punjab. It will be Rs70 per kg in Ramadan Bazaar and Utility Stores. In a meeting of the provincial chief secretaries, the prime minister directed that there should be no interruption in the supply of flour and sugar, said Aurangzeb. “A directive has been issued to ensure supply of sugar across the country.”
He said that the prime minister has announced a big package in the month of Ramadan. Along with the provinces, the prime minister himself is monitoring the programme. She said monitoring Price Mechanism Committees have been formed at provincial and federal levels while added that every two days, the prime minister will be briefed by these committees. Where the benefits of this subsidy will not be available, immediate action will be taken so that the people of Pakistan can get maximum benefit from it, she added.
The minister further said that the cabinet has set up a committee for the exit control list. Federal Law Minister Nazir Tarar will head the committee. Syed Naveed Qamar, Asad Mehmood, and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq are also members of the committee. The committee will review the ECL law and present it to the cabinet, Aurangzeb said.
In this regard, the previous committee was formed on December 20, 2020, which included Shehzad Akbar, who was an advisor to the Prime Minister’s Accountability Cell.
In the past, there was “political revenge and stinking accountability”. All the allegations they made were made by Imran Khan himself, she said while adding that the allegations made by the PTI would not be substantiated if they went to the court. She said innocent people were imprisoned through the “NAB-Niazi nexus”.
A campaign was launched against the Parliament and the media. Investors belonging to the corporate sector who participated in the development of the country also fell prey to the NAB-Niazi nexus, she further added.
She said the stop list and watch list had been running on the orders of Imran Khan. A senior official in the power sector told the prime minister during a briefing that 27 power plants were shut down due to lack of fuel, she said.
The prime minister asked what you have done in the last four years, to which he said officer said that we could not do any work due to fear of the NAB, she said while adding the people of Pakistan are suffering the loss which they incurred in the past.
She said the committee would give a briefing on where the ECL law had been used in the past and would report to the cabinet within three days. These people are carrying briefcases and preparing to leave the country, Aurangzeb said.
When Imran Khan did not get anything, he used the FIA against Shehbaz Sharif due to personal jealousy and stubbornness, she added. The federal cabinet has appointed Muhammad Tahir as director general of the FIA, she said.
While talking about the Digital Media Wing, the minister said that the people of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were placed in the digital media wing. 80 percent of the people from Digital Media Wing resigned after the PTI government. And, those recruited under the rules will be integrated into the Cyber Wing of the Ministry of Information, she maintained.
“We will not abuse anyone,” Aurangzeb said.
In the past, the Digital Media Wing was only used for propaganda, which was used against institutions, journalists, parliamentarians, and media.
While talking about the campaign, she said the entire campaign was run using bot tweets and software. The Twitter handles of all those bot tweets have come to us, Aurangzeb added.
Imran Khan also knows that now only robots will support him on social media, in fact, he cannot make his place on social media, she said. She said the prime minister has announced the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. The committee could not meet due to delay in formation of the cabinet.
While talking about the conspiracy/foreign threat, she said the National Security Parliamentary Committee would meet soon, the whole truth would come out before the people of Pakistan.
Talking about the media and the problems faced by the media persons, she said the relationship with the media is personal, I always found the media with me, will work together to solve media problems.
What happened to journalists, media workers and media houses in four and a half years was a “dark age”. Freedom of Expression restricted, journalists kidnapped, tortured, she said the media must also come forward to eradicate the culture of intolerance in the country. The traditions of intolerance that are emerging in the society should end, she added. She said we would be working with the media during the 8th Wage Board Awards.
“I have decided to sit in PID for two days to listen to the problems of the media workers, all members of the media can meet me there”, Aurangzeb said.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Aurangzeb tweeted that the federal cabinet was briefed on the economic disaster, unprecedented criminally irresponsible fiscal acts during the past four years by Imran Khan.
She said that during Imran’s rule, inflation, poverty, unemployment, debts and deficits rose. She maintained that Imran Khan’s term was marred by corruption and this was the reality of Naya Pakistan.
Quoting the figures, she said that in the fiscal year 2017-18, the GDP growth stood at 6.1 percent which fell to only four percent in 2021-22. She further highlighted that in 2017-18, the CPI inflation was at 3.9 percent which shoot up to 10.9 percent in 2021-22, whereas, the SPI inflation which was at 0.9 percent in 2017-18 increased to 17.3 percent. The food inflation which stood at 2.3 percent during 2017-18 shoot up to 10.2 percent, she stated.
Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail while briefing the media on the cabinet meeting said that the supply of flour and sugar to Azad Kashmir will be a gift from the Punjab government. He said the current inflation rate is 17.3 percent. Under the PML-N government, the budget deficit was Rs1,600 billion which has Rs5,600 billion now.
Tax revenue as percentage of GDP has come down from 11 percent to nine percent. Imran Khan has taken loan of Rs20,000 billion in four years. Our government generated 11,000 MW of electricity during its tenure, the finance minister said while adding despite taking huge loans, Imran government has not laid a single brick in the country.
The rupee has depreciated by 70 percent in recent times, he said. Further, he said Imran Khan did not build a school in his time. Imports more than double exports, said the Finance Minister. He said we will revive the economy under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif. He said we will bring our program back on track with the IMF. There were huge revolving loans in the energy sector, Miftah Ismail said while adding there is a revolving loan of Rs15 trillion in the gas sector. The finance minister said diesel subsidy of Rs51.52 is being given.
He said petrol subsidy hurts the poor and the middle class. Imran Khan has not repaid a single dollar of debt but has increased the debt, he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022