Next budget to meet public aspirations, says Firdous Awan

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information & Broadcasting, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan along with Federal Minister for Energy, Omar Ayub Khan, briefing the media persons about the decisions taken at Federal Cabinet meeting, here Tuesday. - PID photo

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Tuesday said the next budget will meet the public aspirations and all allied parties will be taken into confidence before the next budget session of parliament.
Briefing media in Islamabad this afternoon regarding decisions taken in federal cabinet meeting today, the Special Assistant said the Cabinet reviewed the issue of energy in depth and the power division was directed to ensure power supply during Sehr and Iftar during Ramazan.
She said the cabinet ratified the ECC decisions of the previous meeting.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said cabinet was briefed by Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood regarding initiatives to bring 30,000 Madaris into mainstream. She said wrong perception was made in media that these Madaris will be under the Ministry of Education. Rather, these will be linked with the Ministry and act independently.
The education minister apprised the cabinet that one window registration of these Madaris is important as well as monitoring of their funding. Education Ministry will also support and give facilities to foreign students studying in these Madaris. In addition, vocational training and capacity building of Madaris students is also essential in order to give them an opportunity to earn living after graduation.
The cabinet ratified agreement on technical cooperation between Pakistan and Brazil. It also gave approval to annual report of SECP that will be presented to cabinet.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister said cabinet also approved abolishing of allocation entertainment and gifts in ministries and public sector organizations. It granted approval for extension in acting charge of Chairman Export Processing Zone.
The cabinet also decided that no additional charges will be granted after three months and all posts will be filled in all ministries and divisions.
Meanwhile, Dr Firdous said the cabinet reviewed the issue of energy in depth and the power division was directed to ensure power supply during Sehr and Iftar during Ramazan.
She said the cabinet ratified the ECC decisions of the previous meeting.
Education Ministry will also support and give facilities to foreign students studying in these Madaris.
In addition, vocational training and capacity building of Madaris students are also essential in order to give them an opportunity to earn living after graduation.
The cabinet ratified agreement on technical cooperation between Pakistan and Brazil.
It also gave approval to annual report of SECP that will be presented to cabinet.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister said the cabinet also approved abolishing of allocation entertainment and gifts in ministries and public sector organizations. It granted approval for extension in acting charge of Chairman Export Processing Zone.
The cabinet also decided that no additional charges will be granted after three months and all posts will be filled in all ministries and divisions.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said the cabinet also accorded approval for the establishment of Pak-China Engineering University at the Prime Minister House as promised by Imran Khan.
She said Chinese government will provide grant for this university, which will be made Center of Excellence for researchers.
She said the cabinet approved renewal of licenses of Telenor and Jazz cellular companies for 15 years at a price of 492.2 million dollars, which will generate an amount of 1.37 billion rupees.
To a question, she said the cabinet also formally approved appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as new head of the Federal Board of Revenue.
Answering another question, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government has zero tolerance for hoarders, various cartels of essential items, and corrupt officers, who intend to create difficulties for people.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Power Omar Ayub said the issue of power theft has been contained to a large extent. He said there is no load-shedding on 80% of 8783 total feeders in the country. He said we also wanted to provide electricity during Sehr and Iftar to 60 feeders that were under the load management, but it could not be done due to line losses and stealing.
Omar Ayub said a sum of 61 billion rupees was recovered from electricity thieves in the last five months due to vigorous campaign launched. During the drive, 4225 arrests were made and 27,000 FIRs lodged against the defaulters.
Omar Ayub Khan said the previous government left a burden of 450 billion rupees in circular debt. He said this burden will be reduced and hopefully in next two years, the circular debt will be cleared. He said new electric metering will be ensured in next four years in order to overcome the line losses.
Meanwhile, Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Tuesday that the government would discontinue granting discretionary funds to the ministers.
Addressing a press conference here after a federal cabinet meeting, Awan said that the ministers would now have to bear petty expenses like their water, tea, through their own pocket.
The announcement is apparently a par of austerity drive being championed by the current PTI government.
She said that a 16-point agenda was discussed and pondered upon with great interest and workable solutions were deliberated upon.
“Directions to ensure hassle-free provision of electricity during Sehar and Iftar have been issued. Power generation problems, petrol and gas prices were also points of discussion in the meeting”, said Awan.
“Bringing religious seminaries under government jurisdiction and their registration was also in the agenda for the meeting; the seminaries will be registered through ‘one-window’ under the Ministry of Education,” stated Awan.
SECP’s (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) yearly report was also agreed upon by the cabinet, she said. She also announced that new hirings in divisions and ministries will be undertaken in 3 months according to availability and merit.
“No one will be awarded extra charges, moving onwards. Agricultural exchange pact signed with Azerbaijan was also green lighted in the high-level meet up”, informed Awan. – NNI