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
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
DRINKING WATER, HEALTH AND EDUCATION
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
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
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
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
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.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
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
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
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.
SUGAR FROM INDIA
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.
CHECK ON PRICES
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
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
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