PM Emergency Program being launched to enhance cotton production, NA told


Islamabad: Feb 12, 2020 (TNS): National Assembly was informed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Emergency Program is being launched to enhance cotton production in the country.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan told the house during question hour today that new seed varieties will be provided to the farmers to enhance the productivity of cotton crop. He said incentives will also be given to the farmers to woo them for cotton cultivation.

Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce and Textile Aliya Hamza told the house that Pakistan Steel Mills will be revived through public private partnership. She said thirteen companies have evinced interest in this partnership for Pakistan Steel Mills. She said Pakistan Steel Mills is a very important institution and it will be run at all costs.

The Parliamentary Secretary said present government has announced two relief packages for the common man worth ten billion rupees and seven billions rupees through the Utility Stores Corporation. She said reduction in the prices of essential commodities at the utility outlets has helped bolster their sales.

Aliya Hamza said that present government is committed to promote industrialization in the country. She said seventeen new entrants have entered the automotive industry.

One billion dollars investment have been attracted in this industry so far due to government’s prudent policies.

Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid said strengthening primary healthcare is top priority of the government. She said reforms are also being introduced in important departments such as Drug Regulatory Authority.

Nausheen Hamid said that policies have been revisited to ensure one hundred coverage of anti-polio vaccine to the children.

Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources Saleh Muhammad said government is working on construction of dams to meet the water shortage. He said work is in full progress on Mohmand Dam which will be completed before the stipulated time.

He said about 11.50 billion rupees have been collected under the dams’ fund.

Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh has said that economy has stabilized as a result of historic steps taken by the present government.

Speaking on a motion regarding economic condition in the National Assembly on Wednesday, he said the confidence of the world stands restored on Pakistan. World institutions including the IMF, Bloomberg, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Moody’s are recognizing government’s economic performance.

The Adviser said the stock exchange stands stabilized and exports are increasing which witnessed zero growth during the five year of previous government.

He said the taxes also witnessed a growth of 16.5 percent during the first seven months of current fiscal year.

Hafeez Sheikh said the current account deficit has been reduced from twenty billion dollars to two billion dollars whilst the fiscal deficit has also been cut.

The Adviser said the government is not only focusing to enhance tax collection but also non tax revenue.

He said we have targeted to fetch one thousand and five hundred billion rupees through non tax revenue during the current fiscal year.

Hafeez Sheikh said the foreign direct investment has doubled whilst the portfolio investment has fetched three billion dollars in the first seven months of current fiscal year. He said tourism has also doubled during this period.

The Adviser on Finance said despite constraints, a serious effort is being made to bring down the prices of essential commodities. He expressed the confidence that the inflation will come down in next one to two months.

A big relief package has been announced through the Utility Stores Corporation to provide essential items such as flour, rice, pulses and sugar to the people at discounted rates.

He said we are planning to enhance the network of utility stores from four thousand to six thousand in the next few months.

The Adviser said that a ration scheme will also be launched before Ramadan under which the deserving people will be provided with essential items at twenty five percent reduced rates through the utility stores.

Hafeez Sheikh said the government has increased the funding for social safety nets from one hundred billion rupees to 192 billion rupees, which is an unprecedented increase.

He said steps such as tightening monetary policy and non-borrowing from State Bank of Pakistan have been taken to keep the prices under check.

Hafeez Sheikh said seventy two percent consumers are getting subsidized power including the exporters and those consuming less than three hundred units. He said we are also trying to check power pilferage to reduce the prices of power.

He said the circular debt was increasing thirty eight billion rupees on monthly basis and we have brought it down to twelve billion rupees.

The Adviser also rejected the impression that auto sale is on the decline. He said different companies have registered increase in the sale of their vehicles.

The Adviser reminded that the country was at the verge of bankruptcy when the present government assumed power.

He said we inherited a loan of thirty thousand billion rupees and we had to return five thousand billion rupees in the first two years. He said the current account deficit was at the history’s highest level whilst fiscal deficit was also on an upward trajectory. Foreign exchange reserves had nosedived due to the policy of previous government.

The Adviser said the bilateral assistance from the friendly countries amounting to eight billion dollars and the IMF financing of six billion dollars on easy terms as well reduction in our expenditures helped avert the crisis.

Participating in the debate on country’s economic condition, Minister for Power Omar Ayub said the previous governments made the country dependent on the power plants run on costly imported fuel. He regretted that the PML (N) and PPP governments ignored the renewable energy but we are giving priority to it to provide cheap electricity to the people.

He said the renewable energy will attract billions of dollars in investment in the country. A Saudi company will invest four billion dollars in solar projects in Balochistan. He said our target is to generate eight thousand megawatt of energy through renewables by 2025.

The Minister said the government has generated 229 billion rupees additional revenue from electricity distribution companies including 112 billion rupees from recoveries and checking the pilferage.

Opposition members voiced concerns over the price hike saying it has added to the woes of common man. Those who spoke on the occasion included: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Naveed Qamar.

The house will now meet tomorrow at eleven am.