Fawad paints a grim picture of gas reserves
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday the country’s gas reserves were rapidly depleting, warning that there would be no gas in the country for years to come.
“People who get cheaper gasoline in big cities should change their ways… this trend will not continue for long,” the government spokesperson said at a media briefing on the meeting. of the Federal Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier today. Fawad said: “Gas is only available to 22% of people living in cities, while the burden is borne by 78% of people in other parts of the country who use liquefied petroleum gas, coal and other means. “
Reiterating what he said at an earlier post-government press briefing, Fawad said gas has declined 9% every year for the past two years. Despite the gas shortage, he claimed, the fertilizer problem was solved in the best possible way and the largest urea production in history – 33 million metric tons – was recorded under the regime. of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). “Urea prices have fallen by 10%,” he said, insisting that there was no shortage of urea in the country.
The cabinet decided to ensure the supply of urea-based fertilizer for the crops of Rabi in the country; Sui Northern Gas Company (SSGC) to supply gas to urea plants by January 2022; the gas supply to the Pak Arab and Fatima fertilizer factories will be ensured; and the process of importing an additional 50,000 tonnes of urea should be completed quickly. The firm was also informed that the price of urea per bag in Pakistan was around Rs 1,864 while in other countries it was sold at Rs 10,000 per bag.
When asked about Justice (ret’d) Wajihuddin Ahmed’s claim that PTI leaders provided up to Rs 3 million per month for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s household expenses, Fawad said that “jokers like Justice (ret’d) Wajihuddin “say things like these to get some prominence.
ECP should launch a call for tenders for EVMs
The Information Minister urged the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) to issue a tender for electronic voting machines (EVMs) as the government was prepared to provide them.
Fawad said the ECP should issue a tender with all the requirements and conditions for holding the next general election through the EVMs.
Referring to the correspondence between the ECP and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Minister of Information said that the government informed the electorate that the demonstration of the EVM prototype was given to the commission on 17 April and later to the secretary of the ECP in November. 15.
“To our knowledge, the ECP has approved the machines and the Ministry of Science is ready to provide them,” he added. The minister recalled that the idea of holding elections via the EVM was first launched in 2012 under the government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and, subsequently, the government of the Muslim League of the Pakistan-Nawaz (PML-N) called on the ECP in 2017 to take practical action. steps to make it a reality.
He said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was advancing the work already done by the PPP and PML-N, adding that all political parties should play a positive role in this regard. The cabinet received a detailed briefing on the schedule for the delivery and use of VPDs to all polling stations across the country and staff training. The cabinet expressed its strong determination to hold the next elections through the EVMs after the implementation of laws affecting it and the voting rights of overseas Pakistanis.
Previously, the federal government had linked the release of funds to the ECP to the holding of all elections in the country through the EVMs. “If the elections do not take place through the EVM, the government will not be able to release funds for the ECP because the law allows elections to be held only through the EVM,” he said.
Regarding the cost of the elections via the EVMs, the minister told The Express Tribune that around 27 billion rupees would be needed for the next general election to be held, saying that 400,000 machines with 800,000 voting blocks would be sufficient to organize the elections. elections of national and provincial assemblies in 2023. Keeping in view about 400,000 polling stations in the country, he said, the ECP says that 800,000 EVM would be needed for the holding of the next general elections.
On Tuesday, the cabinet welcomed the ECP’s decision to use EVMs in local elections in Islamabad. Later, responding to a question, the Minister said that getting 4,000 machines was not a problem for the ECP as it would get the machines as soon as it issued a tender.
Regarding the ongoing protest in Gwadar, Balochistan, the minister revealed that Prime Minister Imran had formed a two-member committee comprising Minister of Planning Asad Umar and Minister of Defense Production Zubaida Jalal with instructions to visit region, meet with protesters and submit a full report.
He said the prime minister had already taken notice of the issue, adding that the federal government had announced a 700 billion rupee package for southern Baluchistan, which included 500 billion rupees from the federal government.
Prime Minister Imran on Sunday pledged to take “strong action” against illegal fishing by trawlers off the coast of Gwadar, adding that they had “very legitimate demands” and that he would speak to the minister in head of Balochistan, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, to meet the reserves of the province. fishing community.
Read more: Balochistan pledged “maximum share”
Sugar sector reforms
Fawad said the cabinet had reflected on the report of the Sugar Sector Reform Committee and decided to hold a “public debate” for three weeks to seek feedback from various stakeholders on the sugar sector reforms, and proposal that the sector should be deregulated and the government should only keep an eye on the grinding season.
When asked about reports that the cabinet should discuss the mini-budget and legislation to curb the practice of buying and selling votes in Senate elections, Fawad replied that the two questions did not discussed during the cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan gave a briefing on preventive measures regarding the new type of coronavirus variant, Omicron. The cabinet stressed the need to increase vaccinations, maintain social distancing and wear masks. The cabinet was informed that currently 20 million people in Pakistan have not been vaccinated with the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The cabinet urged all of these citizens to take the second dose as soon as possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The meeting was also informed that immunity increases 17-fold after the second dose of vaccine.
Financial adviser Shaukat Tarin presented the cabinet with a comparative review of the prices of basic necessities, saying that the weekly inflation rate fell by 0.07%; the prices of sugar, flour and other household items have fallen; collectively, the prices of nine items fell; and the prices of 23 items remained stable.
The cabinet was informed that apart from the prices of Banaspati Ghee and tea leaves in the region, the prices of all other essentials were lower in Pakistan. Concerns have been expressed over the rising prices of essential commodities in Sindh, including flour, sugar, milk, ghee and legumes.
Relations between Pakistan and Central Asia
The cabinet approved the amendment to the bilateral air route between Pakistan and Tajikistan, saying the decision will reduce both air distance and travel costs. The cabinet also authorized the Kazakh Air Company (SCAT) to operate in Pakistan to begin air travel between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, noting that the move will help boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
To promote trade between Pakistan and Central Asian countries, the cabinet asked the Aviation Division to start working on finalizing air transport agreements with all Central Asian countries.
He also approved an amendment to the air transport agreement between Pakistan and Iraq. In addition, the cabinet approved the extension of the exchange period for the old Pakistani banknotes of 10, 50, 100 and 1000 currencies until December 31, 2022.
On the basis of humanitarian reasons, the cabinet decided that the process of obtaining Pakistani visas for Afghans was made even more flexible and after this decision, the security clearance required for obtaining a visa was reduced. from 30 days to 15. The meeting also decided to further facilitate the registration process of international NGOs working for the welfare and assistance of the Afghan people.
The facility for Afghans who immigrate to other countries via Pakistan has been extended for an additional 60 days, Fawad said, adding that the facility includes travel by land and air.
Ogra’s annual report for the year 2019-2020 was presented to the cabinet.
The report contains recommendations regarding the performance of Pakistan oil industry, production, supply and demand as well as improvement. The cabinet has been informed that there is currently a 27-day stockpile of gasoline and diesel; 75 exploration licenses generated revenues of Rs 29 billion; LPG cylinder safety standards are being improved and a public awareness campaign is underway.
In addition, it was said, 10 licenses were issued to LPG companies; an audit is underway to prevent gas theft; and action is taken against those who sell gasoline to illegal pumps and plastic containers.