Aug 08 - 14, 2005




Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has appealed to the people to celebrate Independence Day with vigor and zeal to show that they belong to a vibrant and a strong nation.

In his appeal to the nation after presiding over a meeting to review arrangements to celebrate country's Independence Day on August 14 in a befitting manner, PM urged the nation to work with honesty, dedication and sincerity to realize the dream of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the nation.

"Pakistan today stands at a stage where the Quaid's dream is being materialized," he said. The PM, however, exhorted the nation to work hard with honesty and sincerity to face any challenge. Let us pledge to move ahead by inculcating in us the golden principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline and make Pakistan strong, he observed.

Shaukat Aziz asked the nation to celebrate the Independence Day with a renewed pledge to contribute to carve out a place of honor in the comity of the nations.

Minister for Information Sheikh Rashid, Minister for Privatization Dr. Hafeez Sheikh and other senior officials participated the meeting.


In order to honor his commitment with the people to provide drinking water, health and education facilities at the grassroots level, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has initiated 40 mega projects at a cost of Rs95 billion which will go a long way in improving the living standard of the people all over the country.

In this respect, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), which met in Islamabad last week under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has approved some 40 mega projects worth Rs95.1 billion with the main focus on infrastructure, social sector development and water related projects.

Out of the total approved projects 37 are new while other three existing projects have been revised according to the requirement of the day.

The new projects would cost Rs93.6 billion whereas three revised projects would be completed at a cost of Rs2.5 billion.

Infrastructure-related projects would cost Rs33.3 billion; social sector development Rs46.2 billion, production enhancement projects Rs4.1 billion and the share of three projects relating to good governance would cost Rs8 billion.

A number of new projects for education sector were also approved, besides up-gradation of various schools. An amount of Rs2.27 billion would be spent on Girls Primary Education Development Project-II to increase enrollment in primary schools and bring improvement in the conditions of public schools and Rs929 million have been earmarked for providing facilities in 925 schools and construction of classrooms in 143 schools in the province of NWFP.

In order to improve technical education to produce skilled labor, a project worth Rs905 million is underway for restructuring technical education and vocational training system in Punjab. A similar project costing Rs1.3 billion is also under way in Balochistan.

The Ecnec also reviewed pace of work on different projects in health sector. It also included approval of a national program for family planning and primary health.

According to the Planning Commission, Rs2.6 billion would be spent on prevention and cure of hepatitis and Rs7.4 billion on population welfare programs in Punjab and Balochistan provinces. It also approved a national program for prevention and control of blindness at a cost of Rs2.8 billion for Sindh province. This program will continue till 2010. A hospital for control of chest disease at a cost of Rs1.3 billion is being established in Rawalpindi. An amount of Rs1 billion has been allocated to control HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Sindh and NWFP.

The Ecnec also approved projects for development in rural areas of FATA and Balochistan at a cost of Rs4.4 billion. The Enec approved two water sector projects, three projects of emergency sector and two projects of physical planning related to construction. It also approved two projects each of highways and railways. Tarbella watershed management project would be completed at a cost of Rs532 million and a technical training project of the Punjab government at a cost of Rs1.5 billion.

A countrywide health immunization project would be launched to control diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and blindness at a cost of Rs11.4 billion in the next five years. The government would provide medical facilities to cure these diseases at Tehsil and District levels and ensure that all areas of the country get proper treatment. The Ecnec also approved a National Safe Drinking Water program to ensure supply of pure drinking water. The has Prime Minister already launched the program.




Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has asked the ministry of commerce to intensify its efforts in collaboration with the private sector to achieve the $17 billion export target set for the current financial year.

He was talking to Minister of State for Commerce Hamid Yar Hiraj, who called on him at the PM House last week.

PM called upon the ministry to work actively, particularly in activating and motivating the private sector to enhance country's exports. Hiraj apprized the PM of the various initiatives being undertaken by the ministry to enhance and diversify the exports. He also discussed with the PM about forthcoming local bodies elections and issues relating to the development schemes.


Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the government policy was to get balanced growth in which all segments of business could play their role effectively.

He was presiding a meeting where new avenues of investment and industrialization were identified to leverage Pakistan's full potential.

A delegation of leading industrialists and businessmen from different parts of the country attended the meeting held at the PM House last week.

"Our policy is to get balanced growth in which all segments of business community can play their role, the PM observed and added that large-scale businesses should embark on corporatization to meet global challenges and flourish in the increasingly competitive environment.

PM also emphasized the need to professionalise business environment besides developing human skills, which were critical in developing corporate culture.

The PM further said that apart from value-added manufacturing, the business community should explore huge potential of investment in agri-business, real estate, engineering, tourism and IT and telecom sectors.

Privatization, deregulation and liberalization were the three pillars of our economic policy, the PM declared and added that the government was committed to providing enabling environment to private sector so that it could play role as the engine of growth.

The business leaders appreciated economic policies of the government and initiatives taken by it and said their investment was at all time high and growth and profitability continue to be healthy.

The delegation stressed the need for the government to ease and simplify creation of holding companies and group accounts, besides reducing inspection requirements as those measures would help unleash the true potential of private enterprise.


The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet met last week with PM in the chair, allowing import of sugar from India, in addition to 100,000 tons to be imported by TCP.

"We have not only allowed the private sector to import sugar from India, but have directed TCP to import additional 100,000 tons at cheaper price, said Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry.

The ECC has also approved GoP guarantee sought by PIA regarding purchase of seven new ATR 42-500 Turboprop aircraft but has inserted a transparency clause in the deal similar to the clause in the deal of Boeings. PIA, it may be mentioned, is buying Turboprop aircraft to replace out dated Fokers from its fleet.


In order to keep an eye on prices of essential commodities and ensure price stability, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz held an important meeting with the relevant ministers including Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan, Agriculture Minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan and overviewed measures taken by the government to bring stability in prices of daily use items.

The meeting also discussed the local government polls and the need to elect honest, upright and true representatives for the public offices.

During his interaction with the commerce minister, the prime minister said that the local government system is the bedrock, on which the whole edifice of devolution rests, and is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy. The government will ensure that these elections adhere to the code of conduct of the Election Commission and are held in a free, fair and transparent manner, the PM observed.

Humayun Akhtar apprised the PM of the efforts to achieve the 17 billion-dollar export target for this year, adding that emphasis was being laid on forging closer cooperation with the private sector.

Sikandar Hayat Bosan said that Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has sold the cotton purchased last year to the industry and with its intervention the farmers got the right price and industry received the cotton well in time.

The availability of wheat in the country was satisfactory and with its import the price of flour was expected to stabilize further. PM said that utility stores were selling flour at Rs11.50 per kg and the ECC decision on sugar will bring its price down. Shaukat Aziz said the government was also giving a subsidy of Rs4 billion on import of 250,000 tons of urea to facilitate the farmers.


Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of Punjab called on Prime Minister last week and discussed matters pertaining to local government elections, law and order, floods and organizational matters of the party.

PM Aziz commended the Punjab government on projects launched by it in the health and education sectors. PM observed that success of the policies of Punjab government in these areas is the manifestation of government's efforts to translate economic gains for the betterment of the common man.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the government has launched the Khushhal Pakistan Program, which envisages development projects for provision of clean drinking water, roads, gas and electricity for the common man.

Reviewing the flood situation in the province, the Chief Minister thanked the PM for prompt supply of relief goods and rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas. PM Aziz said if we had storage facilities, we would not only have been able to check the damage caused by the floods but have also saved water from going waste. In this connection, he observed time has come to make a positive decision regarding a storage facility. Discussing organizational matters of PML, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the enrolment drive and lauded services of complaint bureau established to redress grievances of the common man.

The law and order also came under discussion and it was observed that efforts would bring about further improvement in the province..