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ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan is committed to eradicate the menace of drugs by utilising all available resources and is strengthening controls in pursuance of its commitments to address the global drug-related problems under the principle of common and shared responsibility.

This was stated by the Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, Shazain Bugti, while addressing the launching ceremony of the automated Precursor Management System (PMS), here on Wednesday.

He said that the up-gradation is the centrepiece of the government’s modernisation drive which will greatly contribute towards long-term goals and objectives.

He said that the upgradation has enabled the country in drug regulation, and countering drug abuse and associated health issues affecting the young Pakistani strata, particularly, in educational settings. He also thanked United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for its continued technical support that led to the design and automation of Pakistan’s PMS.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Humaira Ahmed said that the new automated PMS is a manifestation of the government’s broader vision to automate the entire process of registration and issuance of “No-Objection Certificate (NOC)” to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry for importing, exporting and utilising controlled precursor chemicals.

“The requests for grant of NOC can now be generated electronically and all steps including document submission, utilization details, and import licenses have also been automated. It will also significantly improve transparency and trust among the public-private stakeholders concerned”, she said.

Addressing the event, Dr Jeremy Milsom, Representative UNODC Country Office in Pakistan highlighted that the new web-based PMS has significantly enhanced the capacities of these national authorities to collect or receive, process, interpret data and approve requests related to import and legitimate industrial use of controlled precursor chemicals in a more secure and real-time manner.

“This technical capacity-building initiative will improve Pakistan’s precursor control regime and improve ease-of-doing businesses for the Pakistani chemical and pharmaceutical industry,” he said.

Hence, this capacity development has paved the way for attaining the objectives of Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Policy 2019, and shared aspirations under the provisions of UNODC’s Pakistan Country Program III (2022-2025)”, Dr Milsom said.

Senior Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Sabino Sikandar Jalal apprised about the design and functioning of web-based information management and application processing system that has replaced the manual processing system.

The newly developed system will be focusing on public companies’ registration, requests for importing controlled precursor chemicals for industrial use, issuance of NOC, and submission of utilisation details of imported controlled chemicals.

In his remarks, the former chairman of the Pakistan Chemical Manufacturers Association (PCMA), Zafar Mahmood, expressed satisfaction with PMS and highlighted that one of the leading objectives of the PCMA was to anticipate, suggest, and respond to the Government of Pakistan’s regulatory policy and practices.

“The PCMA is committed to attracting new investments and improving Pakistan’s chemical exports. We continue endeavours to achieve competitiveness through sustainable growth and adoption of global best practices, in close coordination with the Government of Pakistan”, he said. The newly-automated Precursor Management System is an online portal for registering and applying NOC for importing controlled precursor chemicals by the industry.

This new automated system has been technically supported by the UNODC, through funding support from the Government of Japan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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