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ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday passed a law which will provide the National Logistics Cell to act as a Corporation – the National Logistics Corporation.

The bill, The National Logistics Corporation Bill, 2023 – tabled by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, was consequently passed by the House after getting a clause-by-clause approval.

According to the text of the bill, upon commencement of this Act, the National Logistics Corporation shall stand established as a body corporate, with perpetual succession and a common seal, which shall have the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both moveable and immovable, as well as to sue and be sued in its name.

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In its statement of objects and reasons, the bill states that the legislation seeks to provide the legal framework for the establishment, functioning and growth of modern and efficacious logistics services and infrastructure across Pakistan, and for providing, inter alia, strategic logistical support to the Armed Forces and the State of Pakistan.

Furthermore, this bill aims to consolidate Pakistan’s existing legal framework for logistical activity, carried out through the National Logistics Board and the National Logistics Cell by bringing it within the legal framework of the National Logistics Corporation (hereinafter, the ‘Corporation’) — an independent and autonomous body.

It further states that the corporation shall undertake, administer and facilitate logistics activities in the public as well as the private sector. As such, the corporation’s activities shall extend to, inter alia, border terminal operations, tolling and infrastructure development.

Importantly, the Corporation shall render its assistance to the government and its instrumentalities, in case of national disasters, calamities, internal threat, or external aggression, whenever called upon to do so in accordance with the provisions of this bill.

The headquarters of the corporation shall be at Rawalpindi, and the corporation may, from time to time, establish other offices at such place as it deems appropriate.

The corporation, functioning under the policy guidelines of the government, issued through the Board, shall be headed by the director general and shall include such other officers and personnel as may be determined, inducted or appointed by the director general, from time to time.

Functions of the Corporation: The Corporation shall carry out works and functions, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the functions of the Corporation shall include: (a) carrying out activities, businesses and works, in the field of Logistics, Logistics Management, Infrastructure Development, border terminal operations and other related activities; (b) organizing, contracting, and engaging in Multimodal Logistics, Logistics Management, and Infrastructure Development activities, and matters connected therewith, or ancillary thereto; (c) engaging, participating, and undertaking projects, related to the Corporation’s activities and functions, in and outside of Pakistan, in the public and private sector, through solicitation, open competition, or on government-to-government basis; (d) procuring, developing, manufacturing, processing, producing, providing, maintaining and repairing necessary goods, services, equipment, vehicles, spares, and other related items, for the activities envisioned under this Act; (e) acquiring, divesting, developing or utilizing assets and property, or interest therein, by acquisition, purchase, rent, lease, or any other mode, for use or utilization by the Corporation; establishing, operating, managing and divesting business units, corporate entities, trusts, consortiums, foundations, offices, associations, special purpose vehicles, joint ventures, and other entities, for the discharge of the Corporation’s duties and functions under this Act; and (g) carrying out any other works or activities connected therewith, or ancillary thereto.

The Corporation shall also carry out such strategic functions and activities as may be assigned by the Government, through the Board, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, as well as the rules or regulations made hereunder.

There shall be a Board, called the National Logistics Board of the Corporation. The Board shall consist of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Pakistan as Chairperson with Secretary Defence Division; OIC (Officer In-Charge); Secretary of the concerned Division; Secretary Ministry of Communication; Secretary Revenue Division; An expert in the field of Logistics as members and director general of the corporation as member-cum-secretary; and such other members as may be notified by the Government, on the recommendations of the OIC, from time to time.

The board shall be responsible for providing strategic guidelines to the corporation, in accordance with the applicable government policies. The government may, through the board, assign strategic function or task to the corporation.

Furthermore, the corporation may, directly or indirectly, generate, retain, expend and utilize its funds, revenues, rentals, profits or other proceeds, on self-sustaining basis, by itself or in collaboration with other entities, by way of carrying out commercial activities or otherwise, through its works and activities, in performance of its functions under this Act.

Funds, revenues, rentals, profits or other proceeds, which are granted to or have been granted to the Corporation, or are generated by or have been generated by the Corporation, directly or indirectly, shall be and remain the property of the Corporation: Provided that such funds, revenues, rentals, profits or other proceeds shall be utilized by the Corporation for the development and maintenance of strategic logistical as well as engineering capabilities of Pakistan, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

Support to Pakistan Army: In case of internal threat or external aggression, or for the defence and security of Pakistan, the Corporation shall provide support to Pakistan Army, in terms of the functions envisioned under this Act, per instructions and guidelines issued by the Pakistan Army.

For this purpose, the Corporation shall, from time to time, participate in exercises, trainings, drills, etc., in coordination with the Pakistan Army: Provided that the Corporation shall keep confidential, all records, activities, deliberations or other material, relating to the provision of support to the Pakistan Army.

In case of emergency, extraordinary circumstances, or to achieve strategic objectives, the Government may direct the Corporation to discharge such functions, works or activities as have been set out under this Act, or for matter connected therewith or ancillary thereto.

The Government may direct the Corporation to render assistance in case of a natural disaster, calamity, or for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto.

The government may, in case of internal threat or external aggression, or during exigency or extraordinary circumstances, or for the defence and security of Pakistan, or to achieve strategic objectives, or for the purposes of national development, grant such exemptions or concessions, as it may deem necessary or expedient, to the Corporation. For this purpose, the government may take all necessary administrative measures, and pass all requisite orders, instructions or notifications.

The corporation may bid for, seek, apply, solicit or otherwise participate in government projects and contracts, or part thereof, from time to time, in accordance with applicable law. Notwithstanding anything contained in this or any other law for the time being in force, the government may directly award the corporation any project or contracts under sections 15, 16, and 17 of this Act.

Utilisation of government lands: Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Corporation for the support of Armed Forces may occupy and utilize land entrusted to the military, for carrying out the purposes of this Act.

Authorities to aid the Board and Corporation: All executive authorities of the Federation and in the provinces shall render such assistance to the Corporation as may be required for the exercise or performance of the corporation’s activities and functions under this Act.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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