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June 20, 2016 (PR No. 1668)

Vice President ADB met with Finance Minister

The Vice President of Asian Development Bank, Wencai Zhang had a meeting with Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday.

Finance Minister welcomed Mr. Zhang on his visit to Pakistan shared with him the details of the current state of national economy. He stated that the economic reforms were on track and had started to pay dividends. Referring to recent upgrade by MSCI, he said that the marked improvement in economic conditions in the country are being acknowledged globally. He said the Government has presented a budget which will provide stimulus to agriculture and industrial sectors besides encouraging foreign investment. This will all help in achieving the goal of inclusive growth, the Minister said. He added the Government has in focus activation of the Pakistan Macro finance Investment Company in the first quarter of this fiscal year. He also hinted at operationalization of Pakistan Development Fund and invited ADB to participate in the Fund.

The ADB Vice President lauded the economic achievements of the present government and said that the country has undoubtedly made noticeable progress in achieving macro-economic stability. "There is significant increase in forex reserves, inflation is down considerably compared to the situation in early 2013. Given the global situation, the GDP growth is also quite satisfactory", Zhang added. The ADB Vice Chief who was accompanied by Country Director, Werner Liepach said that financing for reforms in public sector enterprises has been enhanced from USD 150 million to USD 300 million. He added that ADB was extremely pleased to finance the M-4 Shorkot - Khanewal Section Project and wished to see it completed as early as possible. He assured of ADB’s support for taking measures to revamp the existing transport and trade infrastructure for improved connectivity to steer the process of development in Pakistan. He evinced keen interest in possible financing in the Pak-China Economic Corridor Project as well as developing connectivity between Gwadar Port and other areas in Pakistan as well as the region. He said Pakistan now needed to focus on attracting foreign investment and enhancing exports to achieve the objective of growth. Wencai added that both sides could identify new areas for possible ADB financing including agriculture and development of ports.

Earlier Finance Minister Dar and ADB Vice President witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government of Pakistan (GOP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a Loan agreement of US $ 100 million for National Motorway M-4 Shorkot - Khanewal Section Project. Department of International Development (DFID), United Kingdom also extended the grant of £ 23,480,000 (US $ 34 million) for the same project.

The loan and grant agreement was signed by the Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Mr. Tariq Bajwa and Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Werner E. Liepach.

 
June 18, 2016 (PR No. 1667)

Finance Minister has cancelled his visit to Beijing, China

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has cancelled his visit to Beijing, China scheduled for the next week. The decision has been taken in view of the fact that the Prime Minister is still recovering from his open heart surgery abroad & Finance Minister's presence in the country is essential.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Finance said here Saturday that the Minister was scheduled to attend the 1st Annual Meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at Beijing on 25-26 June 2016. The Minister was also scheduled to speak at a seminar, besides holding certain other meetings during the visit.

In a letter addressed to the President AIIB, the Minister has expressed regrets over his inability to attend the annual meeting.

Secretary, Economic Affairs Division Tariq Bajwa would now represent Pakistan at the event.

 
June 18, 2016 (PR No. 1666)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to discuss the implementation of relief measures for agriculture sector

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to discuss the modalities for implementation of relief measures for agriculture sector announced in the Budget 2016-17. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Provincial Finance and Agriculture Ministers of Punjab and Sindh and senior officials of relevant ministries participated in the meeting.

The Finance Minister stated that the government had given due priority to the agriculture sector in the budget. He hoped that the measures announced by the Federal Government will be complemented by the Provincial Governments with a view to ensure that the decline in agricultural growth is reversed and the sector achieves a healthy growth rate in accordance with its potential. He referred to the decrease in fertilizer prices by the industry and stated that it was made possible after lengthy negotiations with the manufacturers. He urged on the Provincial governments to continue with a spirit of cooperation for the promotion of the vital agriculture sector.

Provincial Ministers welcomed the measures announced by the Federal Government and stated that the Provincial governments were equally keen to provide support to the farmers who had been facing a difficult situation due to falling commodity prices and high cost of inputs.

The meeting discussed in detail the subsidy on fertilizers announced in the budget and the mechanism for its disbursement. The detailed modalities in this regard were discussed and agreed. It was decided that the subsidy would be provided through a joint Federal & Provincial package for farmers. The meeting also discussed other agriculture related measures and decided to continue close liaison and coordination for country wide impact on the agriculture sector.

 
June 14, 2016 (PR No. 1665)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Prime Minister’s Office Tuesday.

ECC considered and approved the proposal for transfer of Heavy Mechanical Complex to Strategic Plans Division (SPD)/PAEC. While giving approval the Committee emphasized that the said transfer would take place by ensuring the due process and that the rights of HMC’s employees would be fully protected. An amount of Rs.500 million was also approved to cover essential expenditure of the company /salaries till June 2016. Out of this amount, Rs. 253 million will be adjusted on account of salaries already paid to the HMC employees as per approval given by the ECC. The SPD/PAEC officials on the occasion assured the Committee that all efforts would be made to revive HMC to its maximum potential.

On a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, ECC accorded approval for the Gwadar Port Authority to proceed with the procurement of one of the three listed Chinese Companies through bidding process as well as preference for the use of the Chinese equipment, in accordance with the Framework Agreement, under section 21 of PPRA Ordinance 2002 and Rule 5 of the PPRA Rules 2004.

The ECC had detailed deliberations on the recommendations/report submitted by the Committee constituted under its directive last year to review the pricing mechanism for RLNG. The Committee comprised of Secretary Finance Division (Convener), Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Secretary Ministry of Water and Power and Secretary Law. The ECC approved the recommendations/report of the Committee and also gave consent for formally conveying them to OGRA as policy guidelines under section 21 of the OGRA Ordinance 2002.

 
June 13, 2016 (PR No. 1664)

Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) called on Finance Minister

The Country Director, Asian Development Bank(ADB), Werner Liepach called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday.

Mr. Liepach briefed the Minister regarding the visit of ADB Vice President to Pakistan from 15th to 20th June 2016. He informed that the Vice President among other official engagements would also participate in the signing ceremony for additional financing for M-4, Shorkot-Khanewal highway Project.

Minister Dar said that he looked forward to receiving the ADB Vice President.

Mr. Liepach also discussed matters relating to the upcoming Ministerial meeting of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), to be held in Islamabad later this year. It was noted that the arrangements for the meetings were progressing smoothly. Pakistan has been actively participating in the CAREC activities, since joining the group in 2010. ADB is supporting development of trade and transportation corridors in Central & South Asian region, promoting regional connectivity.

The ADB’s current portfolio for Pakistan also came under discussion. Mr. Liepach informed the Minister that most of the projects were progressing as per the timelines. He also stated that ADB’s financing programme in Pakistan for the next three years was presently being discussed with the Economic Affairs Division.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar appreciated the continued support of Asian Development Bank for the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Senior officials of Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
June 13, 2016 (PR No. 1663)

Additional District Judge summons ARY CEO, Anchors for a hearing

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance said here Monday that Additional District Judge, Islamabad-West has summoned ARY Chief Executive Officer, Salman Iqbal, anchors Arshad Sharif and Assad Kharal to appear for a hearing on 17th June 2016 on suits filed by the Finance Minister.

The Spokesperson recalled that taking strong exception to the slanderous telecasts and publications against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar by ARY News through its Programme "News @ 3 with Maria Memon" aired on 16th April 2016, legal notices were served on ARY Chief Executive Officer, Salman Iqbal and anchors Arshad Sharif and Assad Kharal for airing libelous content and alleging that Finance Minister held a meeting with Panamian Deputy Minister for Economy, Ivan Zarak in Washington, without seeking any confirmation.

As per the legal notices, the respondents were  called upon to publish apology in reputed Urdu and English dailies and also broadcast the same with prominence within fifteen days of the legal notices. In addition, each of them also had been asked to pay a sum of rupees one billion to the Finance Minister in damages failing which legal proceedings against them would be initiated. 

The spokesperson added that the Panamian Deputy Minister, Ivan Zarak had denied such a meeting was ever held with Finance Minister. Furthermore the Panamian Government also  sent a message of apology to Finance Minister over the incorrect statement given by their Deputy Minister.

Now the honourable Additional District Judge Islamabad-West has issued summons to the three respondents in this case for a hearing on 17th June 2016.

 
June 11, 2016 (PR No. 1662)

Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Sun Weidong called on Finance Minister

The Chinese Ambassador,  Mr. Sun Weidong called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here.

The Ambassador greeted the Minister on completion of 65 years of Pak-China relations. He said that friendship between the two countries would be further strengthened in future with more and more focus being laid on economic cooperation.

Ambassador Sun referred to the visit of Chinese President to Pakistan last year. He said that 2016 was the year of implementation on the decisions taken by the leadership of the two countries during that visit. He cited the recent handing over of equipment by the Chinese government to security and health institutions in Pakistan as part of the implementation programme.  

Minister Dar on this occasion said that Pakistan highly valued Chinese support for various development projects in Pakistan.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue attended the meeting.

 
June 11, 2016 (PR No. 1661)

German Ambassador called on Finance Minister

The German Ambassador  Ms Ina Lepel called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here.

The Envoy informed the Minister about leading German companies’ plan to invest in telecom and energy sectors in Pakistan. She added that she looked forward to the Government particularly the Finance Minister’s support for facilitating these companies.

Minister Dar welcomed the investment programme of the German companies and said that Government fully encourages foreign investment which is the key component of the growth policy it was now pursuing with full vigour. He said the government has announced a business friendly budget which offers incentives for industry. The German companies should make full use of the liberal investment regime that Pakistan offers, the Minister said.

Ms Ina Lepel thanked the Minister for the encouragement and support offered for investment by German companies.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue attended the meeting.

 
June 11, 2016 (PR No. 1660)

Delegation of reputed Royal Friesland Company (RFC) of Netherlandscalled on Finance Minister

A delegation of reputed Royal Friesland Company (RFC) of Netherlands led by its Global Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Hein Schumacher called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here Saturday morning.

The delegation informed the Minister about RFC’s plan to invest in the dairy/food sector in Pakistan. Mr. Schumacher also shared with the Minister, the international investment portfolio of the company. He added that RFC had a profound desire to undertake investment in Pakistan because of the attractive business environment. He said there are “positive prospects in Pakistan not just in the dairy and food sector but in other sectors as well”.

Minister Dar welcomed the delegation and gave them an overview of the investment policy of the government and the opportunities that were offered to foreign companies in Pakistan. He said a number of multinational companies had been engaged in business ventures in Pakistan and RFC would also be offered maximum possible facilitation in undertaking investment here. He said that Government has full focus on achieving economic growth and foreign investment was a major tool to help achieve this objective.

Members of the visiting delegation commented that they were eagerly looking forward to implement the RFC’s investment plan which was in the final stages of approval and that the company would be pleased to contribute to economic progress in Pakistan.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue attended the meeting.

 
June 10, 2016 (PR No. 1659)

Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Marc George and Charge d' Affaires, Embassy of Netherlands, Renate Pors called on Finance Minister

Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Marc George and Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of Netherlands, Renate Pors called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday.

They discussed with the Finance Minister the current investment portfolio as well as future investment plans of Swiss and Netherlands companies in Pakistan. They opined that overall improvement in security environment and improved economic stability in the country was attracting foreign investors to Pakistan.

Finance Minister apprised the two envoys about the liberal investment regime and a level playing field that Pakistan offered to international companies and said investors from both the countries should fully avail the opportunities offered by Pakistan for investment in different spheres.

The Minister assured Mr. Marc George and Mrs. Renate Pors all possible support for facilitating the companies from Netherlands and Switzerland in setting up their business ventures and investment in Pakistan.

Head of Economic Section, Netherlands Embassy, Mr. Rick Slettenhaar and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present on the occasion.

 
June 10, 2016 (PR No. 1658)

Finance Minister held a meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue(FBR)

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue(FBR) here on Friday.

The meeting discussed post-budget proposals and suggestions made during the course of budget debate in the Parliament.

Secretary Finance and Chairman FBR briefed the meeting on all the proposals made by the members of Parliament in the two houses as well as in the respective Standing Committees on Finance. The two officials also submitted their respective recommendations with regard to these proposals. 

Finance Minister said that government has presented a business and consumer friendly budget which has been widely acclaimed by different segments of the society. He said measures announced by the government for upkeep of the farmers’ community and agriculture sector are specially being lauded. Appreciation has also specially been received on government interventions for promotion of exports as well as development of industry. He said government has placed due focus on inclusive growth and the budget 2016-17 will help achieve this objective.

The Minister stated that the government is open to suggestions and any changes/improvements in the budget proposals would reflect Government’s will to facilitate different sectors of the economy to the maximum extent possible. 

The Minister directed the Ministry of Finance and FBR teams to continue to take guidance from the Parliamentary budget debate and make recommendations for adoption of positive and forward looking proposals. 

 
June 09, 2016 (PR No. 1657)

Chinese Equipment handed over to Pakistan

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has said Pakistan highly values China’s continued support on issues of its national security, territorial integrity and the war on terror.  Chinese commitment to Pakistan’s infrastructural development, capacity building and emergency relief operations is unmatched and commendable.

The Minister here on Thursday was addressing the signing ceremony of documents for handing over capacity building equipment to Pakistan provided by the Chinese Government.

 Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Tariq Bajwa and Mr. Sun Weidong Ambassador of China signed the documents.

With a view to enhancing the capacity of law enforcement and health intuitions, the Government of China has provided 425 police pickups and 80 ambulances, apart from other office equipment, worth Chinese Yuan 95 million. The equipment would be used in all the four provinces, GB, FATA, AJK and Islamabad Capital Territory.

Ambassador of China, Sun Weidong said that provision of this equipment was carried out under the Letter of Exchange (LoE) signed between China and Pakistan during the visit of Chinese President to Pakistan. He said this is the 65th year of Pak-China relations and this time tested friendship would be further strengthened in future.

 
June 08, 2016 (PR No. 1656)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress of draft Companies Bill 2016

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here on Wednesday to review the progress of draft Companies Bill 2016.

Chairman SECP, Mr. Zafar-ul-Haq Hijazi briefed the meeting on the consultative process carried out by the Commission for making the bill a comprehensive law covering all aspects of corporate governance. He said that SECP had held extensive consultations with all stakeholders and had also held seminars to disseminate information regarding the new bill as well as to solicit recommendations for the various sectors. The suggestions and recommendations received during the process had been analyzed by SECP and those found to be logical and feasible had been incorporated in the draft.

The Minister on the occasion said that the proposed law carries due significance for efficient and effective regulation of corporate sector. He said the proposed bill must reflect the international best practices. He also gave instructions for further improvements and finalization of the draft bill so that it could then be placed before the Cabinet before introduction in the Parliament for enactment.

Senior officials of the SECP, Ministry of Finance and FBR participated in the meeting.

 
June 07, 2016 (PR No. 1655)

Finance Ministermet with Ms Justine Greening, UK Secretary Of State for International Development

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Tuesday received Ms Justine Greening, UK Secretary Of State for International Development for a meeting at the PM House.

Matters pertaining to Pak-UK economic cooperation were discussed on the occasion.The two leaders also exchanged views on different aspects of international development.

The Finance Minister apprised Ms. Greening of the efforts made by the present government for revival of economy and the consequent improvement in economic indicators during the last three years. He also acknowledged the support of development partners including the the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for economic reform initiatives of the government.

Finance Minister also on this occasion shared with Ms Greening the success achieved in Zarb e-Azb. He said that gains made against militancy and extremism are now being consolidated through rehabilitation of these areas as well as through introduction of administrative and governance reforms.

Ms Greening stated that the UK is a long-time partner of Pakistan and would continue to support the reform initiatives aimed at enhancing economic growth and development. She said that "the Government of Pakistan had risen to the challenge in the last three years". She complimented the Minister on his able handling of the economy and said that the visible improvements in economic conditions are a "tribute to your leadership". She said that the improvements in security situation are also visible and encouraging.

Both sides agreed, during the meeting, to commence formal discussions for finalizing a new Development Partnership Agreement (DPA) between the two countries for the next ten years, incorporating mutually agreed areas of cooperation. The current DPA (2006-6) is due to expire in September, 2016.

Senior officials of Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division and UK High Commission attended the meeting.

 
June 06, 2016 (PR No. 1654)

Budget acclaimed as consumer and business friendly

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday held a meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR.

The meeting noted with satisfaction that the budget has been widely acclaimed as consumer and business friendly. The focused interventions proposed in the budget for agriculture, exports and industrial sectors are particularly being appreciated.

Finance Minister said that the government would welcome and consider suggestions made during the budget debate in the parliament.

The Minister stated that the federal government has endeavoured to provide maximum relief to the general public. The budget 2016-17 does not include any steps that would negatively impact prices of items of daily use by the common man, the Minister added.

The Minister directed officials concerned to keep close liaison with all the stakeholders and prepare a report on post budget proposals for his consideration.

 
June 06, 2016 (PR No. 1653)

Finance Minister for measures to keep prices stable

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday addressed letters to all the Chief Ministers, calling upon them to take steps to ensure that prices of various commodities remain stable in the month of Ramadan and that no price hike is allowed under any pretext.

The Minister went on to say that the Federal Government would also closely monitor prices of different commodities in areas under its jurisdiction.

Finance Minister stated that the government has announced a consumer and business friendly budget. It has not announced any measures in the budget that could negatively impact prices of items of daily use by the common man. Furthermore prices of petroleum products as per announcement on May 31 have also not been enhanced for the month of June as an effort to maintain price stability in the holy month of Ramadan.

Given this fact, there is no question that anyone should indulge in profiteering, the Minister remarked.

 
June 06, 2016 (PR No. 1652)

Finance Minister takes serious view of price hike in poultry meat

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, taking serious view of price escalation in poultry meat, has called upon Pakistan Poultry Association to ensure that prices of poultry meat remain stable in the month of Ramadan. He asked for urgent measures in this regard.

The Pakistan Poultry Association assured the Minister that as they had pledged in a pre-budget meeting with him last month, they would ensure that prices of poultry meat are maintained at an appropriate level. They said the prices of poultry meat would be normalized within two days.

 
June 06, 2016 (PR No. 1651)

Major Revenue and Relief Measures - Budget 2016-17

Relief Measures

  • Tariff slabs reduced from existing 5 to 4 by merging 2% slab and 5% slab in new 3% slab. Corporate tax rate has been reduced to 31% for Tax Year 2017. In sales tax turnover threshold for cottage industry has been increased to 10 million. Introduction of optional regime for Tier-1 Retailers according to which sales tax at fixed rate of 2% of their total turnover without any input tax adjustments is proposed.
  • Exemption of sales tax on pesticides and 5% sales tax on fertilizers. Exemption to machinery and equipment for the development of grain handling and storage facilities to include silos  as well. Relief in customs duty for Cool Chain Machinery.
  • Income Tax, Customs And Sales Tax exemptions under Gwadar Port Concession Agreement for operation and development of Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone.
  • Zero-rating of five export oriented sectors. specified items for these sectors and the purchase of energy i.e. electricity, gas, furnace oil and coal by the five export-oriented, have been subjected to zero-rate of sales tax.
  • Various tax credits including tax credits under section 65B, 65D and 65E and enhancement of tax credit for employment generation are proposed to be increased. Period for these credits are also proposed to be extended. Deductable allowance for education and tax credit for health insurance is also proposed to be introduced.
  • Concessions of CD for Dairy, Livestock & Poultry Sectors from 5% to 2%.
  • Concessions of CD for Fish Farming, fish feed pellet (floating type) machines from 5% to 2%, fish / shrimp feed 10% & 20% to 0%.
  • Exemption of sales tax on import of Laptops and PCs.
  • Exclusion of Second hand and Worn Clothing from further tax levy.

Revenue Measures

  • Super tax was levied for the tax year 2015 to meet revenue needs for certain unforeseen expenditure by the government. Since the circumstances still persist, it is being extended for tax year 2016.
  • A final tax is being imposed on builders and land developers on the basis of per unit area.
  • It is proposed to extend the holding period for taxation of capital gain on sale of immovable property from two years to five years to be charged at uniform rate of tax of 10%.
  • For persons registered with provincial sales tax authorities , it is proposed that an advance tax at 3% of turnover of non-filer service providers be collected by provincial ST authorities along with their sales tax returns.
  • It is proposed to withdraw zero-rating on milk and fat filled milk. Zero-rating on preparations for infant use proposed to be retained.
  • In order to maintain neutrality it is proposed that Minimum tax may be charged on companies declaring gross loss.
  • It is proposed that minimum tax @ 1% of turnover may be made payable by Individuals and AOPs having turnover exceeding ten million rupees.
  • It is proposed to withdraw zero-rating on stationery items and their inputs.
  • Continuing with the policy of differential taxation for filer and non-filer, various sections are included with higher withholding tax rates for those not filing income tax returns
  • Enhancement of rates of Federal Excise Duty on cigarettes. The rates of FED on cigarettes are proposed to be increased on a bi-annual basis
  • Enhancement of Federal Excise Duty on Aerated Waters to 11.5% of retail price.
  • It is proposed to replace the current regime with fixed rate basis and to charge FED on cement on fixed rate basis @ Rs. 1/ kg.
  • It is proposed to replace this Federal Excise Duty on sugar with levy of sales tax at reduced sales tax rate of 8%.
  • Inclusion of mineral/bottled water in the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990, so that the tax is charged on the basis of retail price.
  • Enhancement of fixed rate basis on steel sector, ship breakers and steel melters.
  • Increase in the rate of sales tax on import of Mobile Phones.
 
June 01, 2016 (PR No. 1650)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review Urea prices in the country

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on Wednesday to take stock of Urea prices in the country. The meeting discussed measures aimed at reduction in Urea prices in line with instructions given by the Prime Minister.

The Finance Minister highlighted the challenges that the agricultural sector, particularly small farmers are facing presently in the context of decline in international prices of commodities and higher cost of production. The Finance Minister impressed upon the Urea Industry to reduce their prices in line with the reduction in price of imported Urea. The price reduction will increase off take of Urea in the country leading to enhancement in farm productivity and higher growth of agricultural sector. He assured that the Government is considering to provide relief to farmers in Urea prices and the fertilizer industry is also required to contribute to this end in larger national interest.  The representatives of the Urea Industry agreed to consider Government’s request.

The meeting among others was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security &Research, Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Secretaries of Ministries concerned, senior officials of provincial agriculture departments  and  senior executives of  fertilizer industry.

 
June 01, 2016 (PR No. 1649)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet this afternoon at the Prime Minister’s Office.

ECC considered and approved the payment of salaries for 7 months’ (November to May 2016) to the employees of Heavy Mechanical Complex. The amount was approved by the Committee on humanitarian grounds as the Holy month of Ramadan is approaching.

Ministry of Water and Power also presented the Pakistan Energy Sector Reform-Quarterly Progress Report of Development Policy Operations from January to March 2016 for the formal approval by the ECC. The purpose of this report is to detail the steps being taken to attain the overall objectives and goals of the GoP set under National Energy Policy 2013 and to develop an efficient and consumer oriented electric power system that meets the needs of its people and is sustainable and affordable.  The Report highlights that the company wise T&D losses during the period of July–March 2015-16 have reduced to 16.3% as compared to 17.6% during the same period last year, indicting 1.3% decrease. Company wise overall recovery ratio has been 94.3% as compared to 88.5% during the same period last year showing an overall improvement of 6%. There was a substantial decrease in customers’ complaints of wrong reading and over-billing. Meter readers are compelled to record 100% reading due to image printing. Excess charging at the will of the meter reader will no more be possible now. The ECC was also briefed that the Report has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry of W&P.

ECC also extended the date for reduced withholding tax rate of 0.4% for non-filers under section 236p of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, up to 30th June 2016.

 
June 01, 2016 (PR No. 1648)

15th General Assembly Meeting of COMSTECH, Islamabad - Finance Minister's Speech

Ambassador M. Naeem Khan, Assistant Secretary General, OIC

Excellency   Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani,
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation;

Your Excellency Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali,
President of Islamic Development Bank;

Rana Tanvir Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology;

Diplomats/Excellencies;

Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan, Coordinator General, COMSTECH;

 Rapporteur General;

Distinguished Delegates;

Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen;

Media Friends

Assalam-O-Alaikum and Good Afternoon!

It is indeed a pleasure for me to be part of the Concluding  session of the  15th - General Assembly of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH). Your good wishes for successful surgery and speedy recovery for Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were conveyed to him who asked me to convey his sincere thanks to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

We are living in an era where new scientific discoveries and technological advancement continue to transform our lives, in ways not  known before, both in terms of their speed and import.  From the industrial revolution we have moved to the information revolution, which among other aspects, brought with itself unprecedented levels of connectivity between people and nations. This has completely  transformed the way people organize their work and interact with each other. Today, we stand at the threshold of yet another defining era, where we are experimenting with artificial intelligence, new materials, nano-technologies, 3-D printing, new transportation systems, inter-stellar travel and new treatments based on stem cells and the decoding of individual genomes. These technological breakthroughs are anticipated to have a profound impact on the socio-economic scenario. This, therefore, is the age of both opportunities and challenges.

With the benefit of hindsight, one can say with a fair degree of confidence that nations at the forefront of these scientific and technological breakthroughs would be playing a leading role in the comity of nations, both in the political as well as the economic spheres. Unfortunately, the Muslim world has lagged behind discernibly in contributing to these scientific advancements. It is, therefore,  imperative that we take collective cognizance of this situation and come out with innovative solutions to bridge this deficit. We need to adopt  a multi-disciplinary approach for this purpose, where besides laying more emphasis on research and innovation per se, we also need to have a fresh look on the legal frameworks and  institutional structures that are responsible for the promotion  of science, technology and innovation, in our respective countries.

Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates!

 In this backdrop, the deliberations held in this Session of the  General Assembly assume special significance.  It is, therefore satisfying to note that  COMSTECH has presented the 10 year Plan of Action, for the Development of Science and Technology in the member states, in this forum. I have been told that this Plan has been prepared in close consultation with eminent scientists from several member states. The Plan  envisages undertaking  collaborative efforts towards building Scientific and Technological capabilities in member states for meeting basic needs such as clean drinking water, health technologies, energy, agricultural productivity as well as some “big” science projects which are critical for the future advancement of Science and Technology in Member States. I congratulate COMSTECH on the preparation of this comprehensive document, which also includes a strategy for its implementation, through mutual collaboration amongst member states.

I am pleased to note that under the Ibne-Haitham Programme, named after the great Muslim scientist, whose pioneer work laid the foundations of modern optics, an endeavor is being made to increase the mobility of  scientists between OIC member states, through offering  scholarships and research grants to young scientists, who wish to study in Centers of Excellence in OIC states. This programme is expected to build closer ties and better relationships between our people in general and the scientific community in particular and would lead to knowledge transfer and capacity building of less developed states. With a view to supplement  this positive initiative by COMSTECH, I would like to announce here the award of 100 scholarships per year for students  of least developed states for graduate studies in Pakistan in the fields of science, agriculture, engineering and medicine. Pakistan would  further offer  scholarships for training of technicians from  least developed OIC states in our training Institutes.

I would like to share with this august forum that currently we are planning to set up a Synchrotron facility for multidisciplinary research. In addition, we will be pleased to facilitate the establishment of a medium size astronomical telescope in Pakistan for common use of OIC scientists. It is my firm belief that the only way forward for us is to work together as a cohesive team and pool our intellectual and physical resources to build collective competence and capabilities in advanced fields of science and technology. We need to resolve to tap all available financial and human resources to execute the comprehensive 10 year S&T plan, formulated by COMSTECH, for the future progress and prosperity of our nations. This is a strategic imperative for our survival and  progress.  I would avail this opportunity to re-iterate Pakistan’s commitment to support COMSTECH in coordinating the collective efforts of the Muslim Ummah to pursue this goal. This would also help us in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon by member countries of the United Nations.

In the end I wish to thank all the delegates, especially those from abroad who have travelled to Islamabad to participate in the Conference to make valuable contributions. We are indeed grateful to all of you. Heartfelt facilitation to Federal Minister for Science & Technology, Secretary, Science & Technology and their team

I wish our honorable guests a safe journey back home and all the success in their future endeavours.

 
 
 
 
 

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