News Column

Steps being taken to rid the country of polio: Premier

May 16, 2014

The federal cabinet was informed Thursday that economic indicators are positive and the economy is stabilizing.

The federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was briefed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar about strategy for the budget for the next financial year. The Prime Minister appreciated the Finance Minister and his team for their efforts towards improvement of the economy. The cabinet also discussed in detail the polio situation, difficulties and ways and means to make the anti-polio campaign more effective.

The Prime Minister said that the Government is working on warfooting to eradicate Polio from the country and all available resources would be utilized to make Pakistan a polio free country in the near future.

The Prime Minister stated that he is personally supervising the Polio Eradication Program and he would ensure that all the issues and problems being faced in the implementation of the Polio Eradication Program are resolved immediately. The Prime Minister alsodirected that an extensive awareness campaign be carried out to dispel the misconceptions about Polio vaccination.

Earlier, the Cabinet was briefed by National Coordinator for Polio Eradication Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq regarding barriers, challenges faced by the Polio program and the way forward for making the program a success.

The Cabinet was informed that 90 % of Pakistan is Polio free and the virus is only isolated to few areas of FATA and Karachi. It was also informed that this year cases have been reported only in conflict-ridden areas which shows that the inaccessibility of field vaccination workers is the main reason behind reported cases.

The Prime Minister directed that filed workers should be provided security in coordination with provincial governments and wherever necessary the services of Pakistan Army may also be utilized. Later, Federal Minister for Finance Mr. Ishaq Dar and Secretary Finance Division Dr. Waqar Masood Khan gave a detailed presentation to the Cabinet members on "Budget Strategy Paper 2014-17." Federal Finance Minister briefed that the government is re-framing the budget structure for the next three years, placing emphasis on major policy objectives.

While elaborating upon the positive economic indicators of the first nine months of the government, Finance Minister told that during first half of the last financial year 2012-13 the GDP growth was recorded as 3.4% while it appreciated to 4.1 % in the 1st half of 2013-14.

He added that the GDP growth for first nine months of current financial year is 4.14%. It was also informed that rapid growth in Industrial Sector and Import of Machinery for use in Large Scale Industries is indicators of growing economy.

The most performing sector of economy remained the Large Scale Industrial Sector which grew at a rate of 5.2 %, while as in the corresponding period of the last financial year it was 2.9 %. The import of machinery also saw an increase from $ 2.9 billion last year to $ 3.8 billion in the current financial year.

The performance of credit towards the private sector has increased approximately three times as compared to corresponding period of the last financial year. While elaborating the next three years' budgetary framework, the Finance Minister told that we plan to increase GDP growth rate by 7.2 % till 2016-17.

Moreover, it was informed that the country's foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 12.92 billion as on 13th May, 2014 which is an indicator of growing economy. The Cabinet also discussed the Budget proposals for 2014-15.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet appreciated efforts of the Government's finance team, led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, for their persistent efforts to improve the overall economy of the country and for coming up with balanced three years budgetary framework. The Prime Minister while explaining his vision directed for taking all possible economic measures to place Pakistan amongst emerging economies of the region while ensuring maximum relief for the people of the country.

The Prime Minister added that Appreciation in the value of Pakistani rupee against US dollar and consequent reduction in the prices of POL was possible because of the pragmatic economic measures of the present government. The Prime Minister stressed for maintaining the same pace of development and economic growth, in the coming years.

The Cabinet deferred the Draft Bill for the Establishment of the National Food Safety, Animal & Plant Health Regulatory Authority with the directions that the Ministry of Food Security & Research should come up with revised draft bill after consulting the Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Commerce so as to avoid overlapping and duplication of functions.

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Source: National Herald Tribune (Pakistan)