Federal cabinet forms committee to amend NAB “draconian law”

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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday constituted a committee, under the federal law minister, to amend the “draconian law” of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to do away with political victimization.

The federal cabinet, which met under Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, held a threadbare discussion on the amendments in the NAB law.

The committee would comprise the representatives from legal, banking, bureaucracy and other sectors.

The cabinet members were of the view that the NAB’s “draconian law” had been used for political victimization and to intimidate the government officers and the business community.

Due to the very reasons, the bureaucracy felt frightened while making the decisions, making the country suffer in critical matters.

Discussing the ongoing severe heat wave ion the country, the cabinet also formed a special task force under the ministry of climate change on the subject.

The task force would take measures to do away with the impacts of the climate change to protect the country from the future hazards.

A report on the review of Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rule 2020 was also presented to the cabinet. It was told that the said rules consisted of the regulations which already part of the Government Servant (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 2020.

The cabinet members viewed that the said rules were used to pressurize the government officers which had no legal justification as overriding laws could not be made.

The members also called for fair and indiscriminate accountability process.

Approving the committee’s recommendations, the federal cabinet annulled the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules 2020, and also approved the withdrawal of proceedings against the government officers under the said rules.

The federal cabinet  nodded to the design of a commemorative bank note to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan, on the recommendation of the finance ministry.

The finance ministry had proposed the printing of the note from an international firm which would cost $6.64 million. Rejecting the finance ministry’s proposal, the federal cabinet decided that the bank note should be printed locally to save the public money.

The commerce ministry briefed the federal cabinet on the detailed analysis on exports, imports and balance of payment

It was told that export volume during fiscal 2021-22 was $31.2 billion and the import stood at $76.7 billion. During the said period, exports increased by $4.95 billion and imports by $11.16 billion.

The cabinet members were told that in order to increase the exports, it was essential to provide gas and electricity at the competitive rate at par with the other countries in the region.

Moreover, the efforts should be made for early revival of the business activities hit by the COVID-19 pandemic besides extending facilities to investors and business community.

Apprising the cabinet of the factors behind increase in imports, the commerce ministry told that the price hike of energy led to the import bill. The import of the COVID vaccine, wheat, sugar, cotton, steel and fertilizer and appreciation of the dollar also led to the import bill.

The cabinet directed the commerce ministry to furnish a detailed strategy to reduce import, enhance exports as well as for the import substitution.

The cabinet approved the formation of a policy formulation committee to promote industry, increase yield and enhance agro-based exports. The committee would consist of ministers of commerce, industries and production, national food security and the federal secretaries concerned. The prime minister instructed to hold the maiden session of the committee today.

The ministry of information technology presented recommendations to enhance the software exports. The cabinet asked the ministry to present the recommendations before the Economic Coordination Committee and later again before the cabinet.

The prime minister said Pakistan had huge potential of investment and exports in IT sector which needed to be exploited. He also set a target of $15 billion export of IT products.

The federal cabinet also endorsed the decisions made by the Economic Coordination Committee in its meeting held on May 16, 2022. The ECC had allocated Rs 52 billion for the petroleum division for the payment of claims of the oil marketing companies and refineries regarding the price differentials which would be valid for 15 days starting May 16.

The Committee had also approved the import of 200,000 metric tons of urea on government to government basis by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan for the Kharif season.

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