ISLAMABAD: Chairing a federal cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday directed implementation of the energy conservation plan aimed at reducing the import bill on purchase of fuel for power generation.
The energy conservation plan was approved by the federal cabinet last week. It was decided that the plan would be finalised on Thursday last but the effort could not be materialised following opposition from stakeholders, including traders.
The federal cabinet had proposed closure of markets by 8pm and wedding halls by 10pm and various other measures like solarisation of public buildings.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House said the cabinet meeting was given a briefing on the proposed energy conservation plan of the Power Division and progress on consultations with all the stakeholders. The prime minister stressed consultation with all the stakeholders including the governments of provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
He was of view that the nation will have to change its behaviour and attitude and adopt austerity in daily life.
He said it was imperative to implement the energy conservation plan and find alternative energy resources to reduce the oil import bill. He also directed the minister for energy to present a report on feasibility of wind energy in the country.
The prime minister also directed constitution of a committee to reduce power consumption in government offices by 30 percent. The committee will comprise federal ministers for energy, planning and development, minister of state for petroleum and the federal secretaries concerned.
The meeting was informed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority had finalised a campaign to create an awareness for austerity and energy conservation.
The Ministry for Industries and Production gave a briefing on promotion of e-bikes across the country. The meeting was told that all the motorcycles would be gradually replaced with e-bikes.
The meeting was informed that 22 companies had been issued licenses for manufacture of e-bikes. The meeting was further informed that e-bikes would help reduce fuel consumption and make the environment clean.
The prime minister directed the ministry to present a detailed plan on e-bikes in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet.
The meeting also approved the Government to Government Commercial Transaction Act 2022.
On the recommendation of the Board of Investment, the federal cabinet approved in principle the One Stop Service Act to provide facilities to investors in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) established across the country.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also directed that implementation of Kissan Package be expedited. He was chairing a review meeting on the Kissan Package given by the government for development of agricultural sector.
The prime minister said that they would ensure food security in the country at all costs, adding that development of agriculture sector was the guarantor of food security in Pakistan.
He directed that special attention be paid to cultivation and production of wheat, cotton, canola and olives for food security. The meeting was informed that instructions had been issued for the implementation of Kissan Package, youth loan scheme, interest waiver for small farmers and provision of interest-free agricultural loans to small farmers in the flood-affected areas through a State Bank notification to banks.
Meantime, chairing a high-level meeting here, the prime minister directed immediate eradication of smuggling and tax evasion in the cigarette manufacturing sector. He also directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to meet its revenue targets.
During the meeting, the prime minister emphasised the need for netting the tax evaders and observed that with the use of latest technology and better enforcement, the tax collection system could be improved.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah, PM’s Special Assistant Tariq Bajwa, FBR Chairman Asim Ahmed and other senior officials, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release. The meeting was apprised that under the prime minister’s directive, Track and Trace System had been installed in majority of cigarette manufacturing units which had improved tax collection.
In this sector, during the period from July to December, Rs83.5 billion tax had been collected which was 26 percent higher than the tax collected during the corresponding period in the last year. The prime minister observed that the FBR through a comprehensive mechanism should further improve the system, so that tax-evasion could be completely stamped out.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday invited Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to attend the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ to be held in Geneva on 9th January next year.
The prime minister held a telephonic conversation with President Erdogan and thanked him on behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan for provision of prompt humanitarian assistance in the wake of unprecedented catastrophic floods.
Highlighting the daunting challenge faced by the country in terms of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas in a climate-resilient manner, the prime minister underscored the importance of continued international support and solidarity for Pakistan’s plans to build back better. The two leaders also exchanged views on various bilateral matters and international issues, and agreed to remain in close contact.
During conversation with the prime minister, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed firm support for the initiatives to strengthen Pakistan’s response during its reconstruction and rehabilitation phase, after the climate-induced floods in the country.
The prime minister underscored the importance Pakistan attached to its cordial and historical relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain. Both the leaders also expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral forums.
The king reciprocated the sentiments of the prime minister and reassured the desire of the Bahraini leadership to further deepen and broaden bilateral relations with Pakistan.