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Sindh Development Forum: Murad Ali Shah says his government focusing on energy, PPP mode, poverty reduction

Karachi, March 28, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali has said that his government was now focusing more on energy, public private partnership, regional development, and reducing inequity. This he said while addressing the ‘Sindh Development Forum 2018 under the banner of ‘Partnership for Development towards thriving and prosperous Sindh’ organised by Sindh P and D Department here at a Local hotel.

The sector which came under discussion include education, poverty reduction, Agriculture and food security, health, Public Finance Management, water, Sanitation and Municipal Services, Nutrition, Energy and Infrastructure and Economic growth. He said that the last decade of PPP government at federal and provincial levels as an era of Peace, Progress and Prosperity.

“When we reign in the government, we faced enormous challenges of law and order, rising inequity and poverty, and weakening federation,” he said and added such was the level of challenges that individuals and institutions were feeling overawed and there was general feeling of haplessness.

Murad Ali Shah said the biggest contributor to this feeling was precarious law and order situation which fuelled uncertainty and caused capital flight. “The capital flight fuelled poverty which led to violence and crime thus exacerbating poverty,” he said and added the key to breaking this vicious cycle was to overcome the terrorism, sectarian violence, and organized crime.

The chief minister said that We feel pride in saying that since 2013 the extent of these incidences has been brought down tremendously, as a result, confidence of business community and foreign investors has improved which is witnessed by generally improving economic conditions and keen Chinese interest in Special Economic Zones from Sindh. “Yet another testimony is the jubilant final of PSL in which whole Pakistan was the winner,” he said.

Talking about other challenges, Murad Ali Shah said one major challenge was the commodity price shock of mid 2000s which pushed many people below poverty line especially poor farmers. He added that the right response was to come up with Social Safety Net and that’s what we did. “It is no secret that Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) is the flagship safety net in Pakistan, starting from a social safety net, BISP have now grown into comprehensive Social Protection Programme,” he said and added it has national socioeconomic registry, transparent criteria for beneficiary identification and targeting, and possibilities of embedding graduation strategies. Murad Ali Shah went on saying this was the reason that program initiated for consumption smoothening is now used for variety of socioeconomic interventions.

He gave the example of Waseela-e-Sehet and Waseela-e-Taleem, Khidmet Card, etc. “Literally all provincial governments are using BISP for launching social and economic sectors programmes,” he said. The chief minister said that we knew that sustainable decline in poverty can only be realized by using bottom up approaches and that’s why we embarked on Community Development investment for poverty reduction.

“It should especially be noted that community development is not politically attractive as its positive effects manifests only after long gestation period. However, despite the political risks, the government started the program and it has been a great success and now federal government has requested our implanting partner to help in replicating the similar programmes in other parts of country, he said.

He said “now we are leveraging upon the investment, we have been doing since 2009 and using the resulting social capital for launching Poverty Reduction Program,” he said and disclosed “in 2018-19 budget we are starting with Rural Growth Centers as a means to achieve poverty reduction.”

Sindh chief Minister said that we believe in strong federation but we are also clear that strength between federating units lies in fairness of resource distribution. He added if there is inequity in resource distribution then federation weakens. “Realising this, it was only the PPP government which pushed the devolution of resources and the push was done against all odds from those who wanted to perpetuate the concentration of resources and unfairness,” Murad Shah said and added “we take pride in claiming that whole gamut of decentralized planning would not have started if devolution had not happened.”

He said that the current provincial regime is leveraging on the foundation established in the last tenure. The focus of his government was now more on energy, public private partnership, regional development, and reducing inequity. He said that our approach focuses on regional sources of growth, strengthening social and economic equity, adopting fiscal measures for resource generation and finally, using public private partnership.

Talking about Thar coal, Murad Shah said it was almost a forsaken project and his government has brought it to life. He said the premise of energy sovereignty of Pakistan is based on Thar coal deposits. “The whole idea of energy related CPEC investment would not have found firm ground if Thar coal fields were not developed,” he said and added It is his government which made it happen thus paving the way for investment is energy production and transmission.

He said that his government has been working hard on resource availability from various sources, particularly working for increasing own resources, using public private partnership, improving projects bankability etc. “Sindh government has already taken pioneering role in PPP mode, projects like road leading to Thar field, Jhirk Mullah Katiar bridge on River Indus, Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas dual carriage way, PPHI, Sindh Education Foundation, and Grants to Philanthropic Health are all symbol of expanding and deepening basis of PPP in Sindh,” he said proudly.

The chief minister said that his government was fully aware that alongside addressing law and order, parallel efforts to improve business climate was vital, in fact improvement in law and order was one of the inputs to improve business climate. “Notwithstanding our love for our children, stock of reality is necessary to improve our plans. We know that we have resource gaps, we have capacity issues, we have planning challenges and we have prioritization needs, and this is the very reason for holding the forum,” he said.

Earlier, the form was started in the morning with three sessions. In the first session the points which were taken up in group discussion were ‘State of Play; Success and Challenges to date- what has worked and What has not worked; and Priorities for development assistance.’ The objective of the second session was ‘The near future: Developing Joint Strategies and Areas for Collaboration. In this session the key discussion points included Solutions to Development Challenges and Identification of Joint Strategies and Collaboration in coming five to 10 years.

In the third and concluding session synthesis of group deliberations: Sector priorities and Collaboration were discussed through five- minute presentations. In the forum 19 heads of country heads of different Donner agencies had participated. The P and D Minister, Saeed Ghani welcomed the participants while Chairman P and D Mohammad Waseem spoke about the purpose of hosting development Forum- this is an initiative towards thriving and prosperous Sindh, he said.

For more information, contact:
Press Secretary,
Chief Minister House, Sindh
Tel: +92-21-99202019 (Ext: 336)
Website: www.cmsindh.gov.pk

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Business, trade bodies call on Haroon Akhtar to share budget proposals

Islamabad, March 28, 2018 (PPI-OT): Office-bearers and members of Pakistan Dairy Association as well as Steel and Iron Merchants Association held separate meetings with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue/Federal Minister Senator Haroon Akht...

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Federal Board of Revenue launches knowledge-base portal

Islamabad, March 28, 2018 (PPI-OT): Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched the first version (Beta) of Knowledge Base Portal for guidance and facilitation of taxpayers. The portal was launched jointly by Mr. Muhammad Zahid, Member Customs and Khawaja Adnan Zahir, Member IT, FBR. Knowledge Base Portal is a digital help library for taxpayers, tax collectors and other related stakeholders. It is the first common help platform of FBR which provides instant guidance on all issues related to federal taxes and duties.

FBR Knowledge Base is an interactive portal and allows users to provide feedback regarding improvement in the articles and suggestions for addition of further articles. The articles on the portal shall be published after vetting by an expert domain team of FBR. All users will be able to search for their required material just like on any other search engine e.g. Google, Yahoo etc. by writing the key words in the search bar.

There are around thirty articles in the first version (Beta) of the portal and FBR plans to improve and increase the number of articles based on the feedback and suggestions of the users. The articles will mainly focus on helping the users on how to use FBR’s IT systems and also educate them on the laws behind the various modules of Iris, WeBOC and e-portal. This is a major step towards providing maximum ease and facilitation to the all users of FBR’s IT systems. Step by step help will also be available during filing of return.

For more information, contact:
Second Secretary (Public Relations)
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)
FATE Wing, Federal Board of Revenue,
Constitution Avenue, Sector G-5,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Phone: +92 51 921 7267
Fax: +92 51 9208456
Email: mujeeb.talpur@fbr.gov.pk, talpur35@gmail.com

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Elimination of corruption is top most priority of NAB: Chairman

Islamabad, March 28, 2018 (PPI-OT): Honourable Justice Mr. Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB chaired a meeting to review performance of NAB at NAB Headquarter. Deputy Chairman, Prosecutor General Accountability and senior officers were also present in the meeting. Talking on the occasion, Chairman NAB Justice Javed Iqbal said that the elimination of corruption is top most priority of NAB as NAB is working under the slogan of ‘Accountability for All’. He said every citizen of Pakistan is looking towards NAB to purge the country from menaces of corruption.

Chairman said after assuming the responsibilities of Chairman NAB on Oct 10, 2017, he vowed to elimination of corruption at all cost and to change the culture of NAB by only concentrating on ensuring accountability of the corrupt without any discrimination. NAB was not only conducting complaint verification, Inquiries and Investigations of the cases on scientific basis by ensuring merit and transparency.

NAB is also strictly adhering to completing the investigations of cases within the prescribed period of 10 months. He said corruption is a curse which is major hurdle in the prosperity and progress of the country. He said NAB officers have adopted zero tolerance policy for elimination of corruption without caring about the status of the accused. NAB officers consider across the board accountability as their national duty.

He said that he has seriously and sincerely started working in NAB sans caring about any pressure with the help of Almighty Allah. He directed all officers of NAB to expedite the ongoing complaint verification, inquiries and investigations including mega corruption cases on merit as per law and on the basis of solid evidence in order to eradicate corruption from country.

As a result of his sincere efforts and continued efforts to arrest accused, proclaimed offenders and absconders, NAB has arrested 226 accused of alleged corruption in a period of last five months. NAB had approved to conduct 55 complaint verification, 39 inquiries and 33 investigations as per law.

He said that NAB in a period of last five months, NAB has filed 197 corruption references in relevant accountability courts. The Accountability Courts had sentenced 27 accused as per law, which shows NAB’s excellent performance in a short span of five months due to our continued efforts and hard work put in by all ranks of NAB officers/official across the board.

He reiterated that NAB does not believe on taking revenge from anyone. NAB officers are working as per law and in accordance with their mandate. He said NAB is determined for corruption free Pakistan as eradication of corruption is the voice of whole nation and time has come that all segments of society should work together for corruption free Pakistan with our joint efforts.

For more information, contact:
National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
Attaturk Avenue G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-111-NAB-NAB (111-622-622)
Fax: +92-51-9214503
Email: chairman@nab.gov.pk, infonab@nab.gov.pk
Website: www.nab.gov.pk

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NDU organises National Seminar on “Challenges in Countering Extremism in Pakistan”

Islamabad, March 28, 2018 (PPI-OT): National Coordinator NACTA Mr. Ihsan Ghani delivered key note address to the participants of National Seminar on “Challenges in Countering Extremism in Pakistan” organised jointly by NDU and Alumni Association of National Security Workshop here today the 28th March 2018 at NDU Islamabad. Mr. Ihsan Ghani was invited as a Chief Guest. High profile bureaucrats and eminent personalities from social society were also among the participants. Earlier, welcome note was delivered by D.G. ISSRA Maj. General Samrez Salik, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) and expressed his views on the challenges of extremism faced by our society.

For more information, contact:
National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan
Helpline: 1717
Website: https://nacta.gov.pk

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