Cabinet approves issuance of Ijara Sukuk Programme

PM resolves to steer country out of current economic woes

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ISLAMABAD: On the recommendation of Finance Division, the cabinet approved on Tuesday the issuance of Ijara Sukuk Programme, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal said.

Addressing a press conference here after the cabinet meeting along with Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, the minister said the information of the assets against the programme and other details would be available on the website of finance division soon.

He said the cabinet meeting also discussed the matter of shortage of edible oil in the country and acknowledged the efforts of minister for industries and the whole team for ensuring the early dispatch of edible oil ship from Indonesia for Pakistan.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked President of Indonesia and congratulated the industries minister and his team who went to Indonesia himself and talked to the Indonesian president in this regard.

With regard to the matter of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar briefed the meeting that Pakistan had met all the requirements of the FATF and hoped that soon after visit of the FATF team to Pakistan, the country come out of the Grey List.

The meeting observed that after coming out of the Grey List, international trade and other restrictions would be completely eased out for Pakistan and it would help promote Pakistan’s trade across the world.

The meeting was informed that in 2019, the Army Chief had formed a core cell, which played vital role in combining the institutional and ministerial efforts in this regard.

The meeting observed that while sitting in the opposition, the present coalition government parties also played key role in the legislation process regarding FATF issues.

The Prime Minister directed all the cabinet members to acknowledge and praise all the concerned institutes as it was not possible without collective efforts.

Meanwhile, the meeting also considered the urea fertilizer stock availability in the country. The Prime Minister directed to ensure the supply of the urea to the farmers on priority saying that if there was any shortage, the efforts should expedite to import urea from the friendly countries especially from China to avoid any disruption in the country.

He said in the world over, all the supply chains, commodities such as wheat, coal, and oil were badly disrupted due to the Ukraine-Russia war. But the government express its resolve to take timely actions to avoid disruptions in the supply chains in Pakistan.

The minister added that on the recommendation of the Commerce Ministry, the federal cabinet formed a committee to review Trade organization Act, 2013, which would be comprised of the commerce minister as the committee’s convener and minister for aviation, railways, and industries as its members.

On the recommendation of the health ministry, Ahsan Iqbal said the cabinet also approved reduction in price of the Remdesivir injection used for the COVID patients, from Rs 2,308 to Rs 1892.

He said the health ministry had informed the meeting that it would come up with more recommendations to reduce the prices of more essential medicines.

The cabinet also reviewed the GSP plus agreement, that was signed in 2013 and under this agreement, Pakistan got the facility for ten years in exports to the European Union countries.

The meeting was also briefed on the key elements of the proposed new EU GSP (2024-2034). It was informed that all the concerned ministers were in contact with the EU authorities. The meeting also expressed satisfaction that the almost all political parties had their representation in the current coalition government, therefore meeting all the conditions required for the GSP Plus agreement would be easier.

The Prime Minister directed all the concerned ministries to ensure timely agreement of the new proposed EUGSP (2024-34).
The minister informed that the meeting also discussed the tough decisions being taken in the wake of ongoing economic situation in the country. He said the PTI government knowingly avoided tough decision and put the economy on the verge of collapse.

He said the current government was committed to revive China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and attract the foreign investment that would help putting the country on the path of progress and development. Meanwhile to another commitment, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday said that unfortunately, they had inherited severe economic crises left behind by the previous government, but with hard work and dedication, the collation government would steer the country out of the current challenges.

Speaking to media after chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet, the prime minister, in an apparent reference to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, said that it had left behind a backlog of worst and imprudent economic policies, tainted with poor performance.

Criticizing his predecessors, he said the previous government reduced petroleum prices at the time of their exit from power corridors which smack of conspiracy and based upon ill-will.

“If they had any concerns and felt pains for the people, they ought to leave behind a precedent of serving the masses by providing any relief in their three and half year’s rule, so that it can be said that they had worked for the people,” the prime minister regretted.

The prime minister said that these were hard times, and they had taken difficult and bold decisions and hinted that if required in future, they would take such like steps for the economic turnaround.

“We will not budge from taking the necessary steps to set country’s economy on the right track with hard work and nation’s prayers,” he stressed.

The coalition government was determined to steer the country out of the current economic crises by striving day and night.

Expressing his optimism, the prime minister said it was his strong conviction that the good times were in store for the country.

About the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, the prime minister observed that the previous PTI’s government had promised to increase prices and impose taxes, but they retracted and violated the pact which they ought to abide by.

He said that due to such ploys by the previous government, today, the country was facing difficulty with the IMF. He also mentioned that global economic situation was complicated as the prices of petrol and grains were spiraling.

The government had decided to increase prices of petroleum products with heavy heart, he said, adding, under a decision in the budget, about 70 million people were being provided financial support worth millions of rupees through activation of a helpline.

The prime minister further explained that in the budget, they had decided to divert burden from the poor and levy tax upon the wealthy people. He expressed the confidence that the affluent and wealthy class would pay taxes and offer sacrifice for the country and nation.

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