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May 18, 2018

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Cabinet clears Fata-KP merger

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday approved the Fata Reforms Bill that would be tabled in the National Assembly along with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution on Friday (today).

The bill approval will facilitate the merger of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) here.

The opposition PTI and PPP will also vote for the bill, while the government’s allies — JUI and PkMAP — will oppose it. Sources told The News that Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had sought the consent of opposition parties for the bill immediately after the cabinet meeting.

Ayaz was assured that the opposition parliamentary groups’ meeting later in the day would also formally approve the merger bill. The cabinet also approved an agreement between Pakistan and the Russian Federation on Settlement of Mutual Financial Claims and the Obligations on Operations of the former USSR.

The cabinet approved an amendment to the Policy of Commercial Import of Arms and Ammunitions and placement of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Prime Minister’s Office. The cabinet also approved establishment of Medical City in Islamabad and an amendment to the Master Plan of CDA in Sub-Zone C of Zone IV of Islamabad.

The cabinet gave its nod for the signing of Agreement on Technical Cooperation between Pakistan and Brazil and allowed an MoU between the National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (Navttc) and Territory and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka.

The cabinet granted approval for appointment of Managing Director, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), MP-I Scale under Ministry of Information, Technology and Telecommunication.

The cabinet approved an amendment to Section 5 and Section 6 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended vide Pemra (Amendment) Act, 2007 and appointment of Date of Coming into Force of the University of Baltistan Order, 2016.

It also approved ratification of Notifications of Tariff Determinations/ Decisions by the Nepra issued by the Power Division on behalf of the cabinet and approved implementation of Peshawar High Court Judgment in Writ Petition No.4169 P/2015 on 31-01-2018. It approved deletion of Synthetic Fiber Development and Application Centre (SFDAC) and Plastic Technology Centre (PTC) Karachi from the Administrative Control of Textile Division.

The cabinet approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Water Resources Management between Pakistan and Australia. The cabinet also approved for ratification of the Decisions Taken by Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) in its meeting held on May 9, 2018.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet after the cabinet meeting. The meeting also considered a proposal for introducing necessary amendments to the relevant laws for ensuring tax exemptions at the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone and constituted a committee to remove any anomalies in the proposed amendments.

The ECC also considered the issue of allocation of site to private LNG developers for establishment of an LNG terminal. It was decided that only those sites at Port Qasim would be allocated for the establishment of LNG Floating Terminal which had been declared safe after undertaking Quantitative Risk Assessment.

The meeting approved a proposal to allocated 35 MMCFD Mari shallow gas and 40 MMCFD of Mari Deep gas to Pakarab Fertilizer Ltd. (PFL) in order to optimally utilize its available installed capacity, encourage indigenous production of fertilizers and to lessen reliance on imported urea.

In order to address the issue of disparity in the sale price and the revenues of SNGPL and SSGCL, the ECC constituted a committee comprising members from Petroleum Division, Ogra, Finance and Planning, Development & Reforms Division to examine the option of replacing the weighted average cost gas (WACOG) equalization arrangement with a new arrangement of weighted average sale price (WASP) equalization arrangement.

The committee will examine all aspects of natural gas sale pricing mechanism and would submit its recommendation to the cabinet within three months. The ECC also approved five localities for SNGPL and six for SSGCL for setting up LPG Air Mix Plants for supply of gas to the residents.

The SNGPL localities include Bisham, Upper Dir, Kana, Alpuri, and Narrar in Punjab. The SSGCL localities include Dalbandin, Taftan, Zheri, Bekar, Kunri and Killi Balozai. The ECC also approved an amount of Rs1140 million as three months salaries (Jan to March, 2018) for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC).

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