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Sunday December 05, 2021

Govt introduced reforms in several sectors in three years: Shahzad

By APP
October 17, 2021
Govt introduced reforms in several sectors in three years: Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: The government introduced steps for overall reforms in several sectors during the last three years and conducted inquiries into various matters because of firm belief of Prime Minister Imran Khan in accountability and transparency.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Advisor to Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar said the government conducted inquires in sugar and petroleum scams, broadsheet case and Rawalpindi Ring Road scandal. He said startling revelations were made during the probe of the Sugar Inquiry Commission and action was taken in light of its report. He said the commission had imposed Rs619 billion tax on 89 sugar mills out of which the courts ordered to annul Rs38 billion tax.

The advisor said the audit contributed to doubling the tax revenue from sugar mills during the fiscal year 2020-21. He pointed out that 10 sugar mills have taken stay from different high courts against the tax audit. The federal cabinet directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to inquire about cartelization of sugar industry. The CCP investigated the matter following its own rules and a fine amounting to Rs44 billion was imposed on sugar mills.

He said the audit of 69 sugar mills out of 89 has been completed while the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) shared evidence with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against those involved in speculation and imposed liability of Rs13.8 billion on them. He said speculation has been termed illegal under new legislation while federal and provincial governments took action against those involved in it. Timely payments to farmers were ensured due to the will of the government while a price fixation formula was made to determine the sugar price. He said the Track and Trace System will be installed in sugar mills before the next crushing season to determine their actual production and avoid tax evasion.

Shahzad said an inquiry was conducted into the shortage of petroleum products last year and fine was imposed on the oil marketing companies involved in the shortage of petroleum products. He said 2,000 illegal petrol stations have been shut down that resulted in the increase of the sale of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) up to 36 per cent and of 28 per cent of multinational companies. He said vessels were not filled when the petroleum products were at a low price resulting in a loss of Rs 13.5 billion. This amount is being recovered from those companies involved in it.

Commenting on the Broadsheet Inquiry Commission, he said a committee revealed that the case was not fought in the right way by the government of Pakistan from 2009 to 2018. An inquiry is under way to find negligence and action would be taken in this regard.

About the Rawalpindi Ring Road scandal, the advisor said there had been serious engineering flaws in the project and extra loops were erected. However, he said, this project has been re-designed as per actual alignment and the prime minister would inaugurate it soon. He rejected the involvement of Zulfi Bukhari and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in this scam.

He said confusion has been created about the jurisdiction of the NAB ordinance. The opposition did not object to NAB-related laws during their own tenures. However, the government made this institution strong. In the new law, he said, the government has tried to facilitate bureaucracy during the decision-making process. He said audio and video recording would be made of all evidence and accountability courts will be equipped by the government.