ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the increase in the number of Roshan Digital Accounts reflected the confidence of Pakistanis living abroad in the government’s policies.
The prime minister said he was informed that $2.3 billion had been sent in the Roshan Digital Account so far. In this connection, Governor SBP Reza Baqir met Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him on the economic recovery, Roshan Digital Account and the current account.
The meeting was told that overall, Pakistanis living abroad have so far opened 240,000 Roshan Digital Accounts, while the number of accounts is increasing by about a thousand on the daily basis.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the construction of roads will increase connectivity, trade and employment opportunities between the rural and urban areas. He was chairing a meeting to review progress on the projects managed by the National Highway Authority.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Jahanzeb Khan, Chairman National Highway Authority and other senior officials.
The Minister for Communications said only 645 km of roads were constructed in the three years of the previous government ( in 2013-14) and a total of 1,753 km of roads have been completed in the three years of the present government.
He said in terms of planning, only 858 km of roads have been completed in the three years of the previous government, while 6,118 km of roads have been completed in the three years of the present government. The National Highway Authority will complete 27 projects this fiscal year. More than 3,000 km of roads are being constructed in Balochistan, he added.
According to the prime minister’s vision of self-reliance, the projects are being completed through the public-private partnerships instead of loans, the meeting was told. The meeting was given a detailed briefing on the progress of Rawalpindi to Kharian, Mianwali to Muzaffargarh and Hyderabad to Sukkur highways.
The prime minister said the roads play a vital role in the economic development, adding the construction of standard roads will increase connectivity, trade and employment opportunities between rural and urban areas.
He added good roads will also reduce the cost of repairing vehicles and importing petroleum products. “I will personally review the progress on the important and major communication projects on a daily basis,” he said. He called for ensuring release of funds for timely completion of the projects.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said only those elements, who were benefitting from the corrupt system, were opposed to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), having vested interests in resisting change in Pakistan. He said next two years are important, adding real competition will be in Punjab and we will win election on the basis of performance.
He said this while addressing a ceremony held to mark the signing of performance agreements between him and the federal ministers with regards to the next two years. He said his government had a great opportunity to prove that they could perform well as we are facing all mafia, all with vested interests and the people who do not want change in this country are opposing us. “They are even opposing EVMs: what benefit would the machines give to the government and ruling party. Almost every election in the country had been controversial, but none of the parties forming government had ever worked towards solution of the problem,” he noted.
He continued, “after the 1970s, anyone who loses in the elections levels rigging allegations. We are introducing a system (EVMs) that could solve the problem. Who are the people opposing the EVMs? Realise, that it is a small group of people with vested interests who have benefitted from the corrupt system and thus opposing it.” The prime minister said this in the backdrop of seething row between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led government and the opposition and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s concerns over the use of EVMs.
According to a tweet by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), earlier, the prime minister had to sign performance agreements covering 1,090 initiatives with 41 federal ministers. Then the PMO explained that the agreements were being signed to improve the performance of the ministries over the next financial years. The initiatives under these agreements pertain to the development projects, economy, policymaking, and reforms, among other sectors.
The PMO said the agreements were focused on improving governance and making it result-oriented, ensuring the inclusion of reform agenda in annual targets, setting annual targets for the government, setting a baseline for effective performance, evaluating performance in every quarter of the year on the basis of data, preempting obstacles in the way of administrative measures, ensuring communication between the ministries, ensuring the continuity of government’s agenda and communicating it to the citizens.
Referring to the agreements, Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “it is very important to push ourselves, set targets and monitor them quarterly, and we will be able to achieve these targets.” He also shared his experience of leading the Pakistan cricket team and spearheading the establishment of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre. He then emphasised the need for having high aspirations, constant innovation, self-evaluation and analysis of one’s performance.
He stressed the importance of hard work and diligence for meeting the targets, saying that his government had survived three difficult years. However, he expressed the hope that his cabinet would achieve the quarterly targets they had set for themselves through the hard work.
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