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The Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production Tuesday strongly recommended direct budget allocation for Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), as at present its funds are being routed through Ministry of Defence. The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum (retd) wherein the members stressed upon the need for allocating the budget direct to the Ministry of Defence Production since it is a separate ministry and thus the budget allocation must go directly under this head to make it more efficient.
Deliberating upon the revised budget estimates for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20, the committee stressed upon the need for MoDP to attain sustainability. The chairman committee suggested a separate annual budget for the MoDP to make its manufacturing units more efficient and self-reliant on commercial basis.
"The ministry should have a separately dedicated budget based on its requirements and, accordingly, it will put up a plan for budget needs of 3-5 years," the committee observed. Besides, the committee said that defence production departments should have dedicated budget for research and development, indigenization and innovative pursuits. The body said that major defence production setups should have one-time budget allocation so that they can better utilise funds, adding the country's armed forces should give right of first refusal to own defence production units while buying arms and ammunition.
The chairman committee said that capacity surplus must be utilised for commercial purposes, adding that moving towards total commercialisation is the need of the hour.
With regard to net purchase/sale for captive and grid spillover renewable projects, the committee recommended that Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) should sit together and resolve the issue and brief the committee in the next meeting in this regard.
The committee also appreciated the expansion of POF unit - the Brass Mills - and taking measures to run it on viable commercial lines. The committee also acknowledged the increase in export of defence products and underlined the need for capacity building of the POF, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra.
The up-gradation of machinery to increase output was asserted. The need for promotion of vendor industry and exploration of international marketing opportunities was stressed as well.
The meeting was attended by senators including Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Muhammad Akram, Gul Bashra, Pervaiz Rasheed, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Shaheen Khalid Butt and Mushahid Hussain Sayed, and senior officials from the NEPRA, MoDP and others.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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