ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has directed the Power Division to ensure that all units of existing power plants remain online and there is no power interruption during the Sehar and Iftar in the upcoming month of Ramazan.
The prime minister issued this direction while chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) at PMO on Tuesday. The government assured the people that uninterrupted power supply would be provided to consumers during the Sehar and Iftar timings during Ramazan.
Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Leghari, Adviser on Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail and senior officials of concerned ministries and departments were also present. The meeting discussed issues related to the energy sector. It reviewed the load management plan for the coming months, especially during the month of Ramzan. The prime minister directed the Power Division to ensure that all units of the existing power plants remained online and there was no power interruption during Sehar and Iftar timings.
Discussing the reform agenda in the power sector, CCoE emphasised upon the need for early completion of need-assessment for procuring quality human resource and streamlining of the recruitment process in the Ministry of Energy so as to ensure timely recruitment of the required human resource. The CCoE directed DISCOs to take effective measures in order to reduce line losses and improve recoveries of the power dues. The annual report and audited financial statement of audit oversight board for the Year, 2017 was presented before the Cabinet that had meeting at the PMO later in the day.
The Cabinet approved signing of 7 MoUs with various countries aimed at enhancement of economic and strategic cooperation and carrying out a feasibility study of a project. The Cabinet approved Prevention of Smuggling of Migrant Ordinance, 2018.
The Cabinet also assented to ceiling for allocation of Grants-in-Aid to bar councils and bar associations for 2017-18. The Cabinet also approved appointment of managing director, Utility Stores Corporation. A proposal to grant additional charge of the post of chairman Port Qasim Authority Karachi to director general Ports & Shipping was also approved.
The Cabinet was also given a detailed presentation on CPEC including various projects being undertaken in energy sector, infrastructure, industrial cooperation and development of Gwadar. Giving details of various projects under the CPEC portfolio, it was informed that the energy sector and infrastructure development constituted the major areas under the first phase of CPEC. Various energy sector projects being set up under the CPEC project would contribute over 17000MW of energy to the national grid on completion.
The meeting was informed that CPEC would significantly help towards ensuring inclusive development especially the socio-economic development of the less developed areas of the country. It was informed that CPEC project would help increasing GDP growth and would strengthen various sectors of the economy.
The Cabinet approved a summary regarding rationalisation of the prices of CNICs and National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP). Terming bureaucracy as backbone of the state, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has stressed the need that it has to adapt new realities of the fast-changing specialised world for efficient state management and optimal decision making.
“The complex issues of technical nature require specialised trainings and use of technology to address the existing challenges.” He was talking to participants of 108th National Management Course from National School of Public Policy at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday.
The prime minister said that Pakistan was facing huge challenges that include economic issues, security challenges and the issue related to socio-economic development. He said that the challenges of ensuring better service delivery and good governance had increased after devolution under the 18th Amendment. The bureaucracy, said the premier, has to play a leading role in finding solution to these challenges especially at provincial level.
Replying to a question of one of the participants about counter-terrorism efforts, Prime Minister Abbasi said that countering terrorism is a continuous effort that involves addressing root causes and factors leading towards extremism. He said that Pakistan was the only country that had defeated terrorism despite huge sacrifices.
Discussing socio-economic issues especially the development of backward areas of the country, the prime minister stressed upon the need for capacity building by the provinces to address such issues. He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) offered a great opportunity and would prove to be a game changer for the development of country and the region.
Other issues of national importance also came under discussion during the interaction. The prime minister expressed the hope that the specialised training being imparted to the senior government functionaries at National School of Public Policy would help them develop better understanding of the formulation and implementation of public policy and would prepare them for taking assignments at national policy level.
Executive Director United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) David M. Beasley also had meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi in the day. The Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon was also present in the meeting. The prime minister stated that the WFP’s largest host government donor in the world and is paying $50 million to the current protracted relief and recovery operations (PRRO). The prime minister also appreciated the role of WFP in Pakistan for being the leading humanitarian organization for fighting hunger, delivering food assistance and working to improve nutrition and build resilience.
On this occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and WFP titled “one-thousand days partnership against malnutrition.” The MoU for 2018–2022 is aligned with WFP's strategic objectives in support of Pakistan's own development strategies –Pakistan’s vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Finbarr Curran, Country Director WFP and Omar Hamid Khan Secretary BISP signed the MOU. ED, WFP appreciated the role of BISP in context to its contribution in the education, poverty reduction and women issues.
Ambassadors of China and Saudi Arabia had meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi separately here on Tuesday. Yao Jing, Ambassador of China to Pakistan discussed with the prime minister his upcoming visit to China for participation in the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and issues of mutual interest were discussed in the meeting.
Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed A. Al Maliki and the prime minister discussed all matters of bilateral interest. It was agreed that brotherly bilateral relations should be further strengthened with a special focus on trade and investment.