Cabinet OKs exemption of PPRA regulations for import of 300,000 tons wheat, 500,000tns sugar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet, which met here Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, accorded approval for exemption of PPRA (Public Procurement Regu-latory Authority) regulati-ons for the import of 30-0,000 and 500,000 tons of wheat and sugar, respectively.

The Prime Minister apprised the meeting that relevant ministries have been directed to present proposals for reducing the burden of indirect taxes, particularly on food items in order to provide relief to the masses.

The Cabinet expressed serious concerns over the report, according to which Sindh Government released 32,000 tons of wheat from a 6 years old stock and unfit for human consumption.

The Cabinet noted that Sindh did not release wheat timely for public need and did not share Wheat and Sugar stock position with the Federal Government which resulted in artificial price hike and issues of hoarding, on one hand, and wastage of available wheat stock that could have been utilized for public good, a press release issued by PM Media Wing said. 

The Cabinet was apprised about the updated status of actions taken pursuant to Sugar Enquiry Committee Report. It was informed that several sugar mills had approached the courts of law and action was underway after completion of court proceedings. The Cabinet was also informed that the NAB was looking into the issue of subsidies. The Cabinet approved Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2021. The amendments were aimed at facilitating transaction under Digital Roshan Pakistan scheme. It was apprised that US$ 500 million have been transacted through Digital Roshan Pakistan scheme so far.

Chairman, Task Force on IT & Telecom briefed the Cabinet about progress made for the development of IT and Telecom sector.

The Cabinet was updated on vacant positions of Heads / CEOs (Chief Exec-utive Officers) of Public Sector Organizations. It was informed that since 2018, 56 Heads / CEOs have been appointed to Public Sector Organizat-ions in a merit based and transparent manner. The meeting was informed that at present 86 posts of Heads/CEOs were vacant.

The Prime Minister expressed displeasure over the vacant positions and directed the Secretary Establishment Division to furnish a report before the Cabinet citing reasons for delay in appointments.

The Cabinet was apprised about Metro Bus Project, Islamabad. Chair-man National Highway Authority (NHA) informed that infrastructure work has been completed and the project was ready to be handed over to the Capital Development Authority (CDA). Minister for Int-erior was tasked by the C-abinet to present a road-map for handing-over of the project from NHA to CDA and the operationalization plan. The Cabinet accorded approval for Mutual Legal Assistance requests from Non-Treaty Countries. The Cabinet approved appointment of Chief Metropolitan Officer as Administrator, Metrop-olitan Corporation, Islamabad for 6 months or till the time new Local Government setup was in place, whichever was earlier. The Cabinet approved establishment of 30 Additional Accountability Courts in implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders. The courts will be established in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Quetta.

The Prime Minister directed that first phase of establishment be completed on priority. The Cabinet approved appointment of Masroor Khan as Chair-man, OGRA.

The Cabinet accorded approval for 3 months extension of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA 2010). The existing agreement was due to expire on February 11, 2021. The Cabinet was also briefed about the measures taken to control smuggling at Pak-Iran and Pak-Afghanistan borders.

The Cabinet ratified decisions taken in Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting held on February 3 & 8, 2021; and Cabinet Committee on Energy meeting held on February 4 & 8, 2021. The Cabinet was briefed on negotiations held with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). It was in-formed that the Govern-ment will benefit to the tune of Rs. 800 billion over a period of 20 years. It was apprised that the present Government was clearing a liability of approximately Rs. 400 billion after pre-audit.

The Cabinet was ap-prised that a high level committee has been established comprising of two Hon. Supreme Court Judg-es and the Auditor to decide on the disputed amount of Rs. 57 billion claimed by IPPs.