ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that if the Sindh government does not take effective measures against hoarders, the federal government may intervene.
The prime minister said that legal recourse will be taken against hoarders and profiteers and if the provincial government of Sindh does not take effective measures against these anti-people criminals. The federal government may intervene under relevant legal provisions to compensate for inaction of Sindh government, as this inaction by Sindh government is adversely affecting the supply and prices of fertilizer throughout the country including Sindh. PM Imran was presiding over a high level meeting to review wheat and fertilizer stock in the country.
The premier said profiteers and hoarders are the enemies of the public and called strict administrative and legal action must be taken against them. He made it clear there is no shortage of essential commodities in the country. “Stern action will be taken against those fertilizer manufacturers who in connivance with some dealers may be acting as mafia to create artificial shortages to escalate prices,” said the prime minister.
The meeting was informed that there is 6.6 million metric tons of public wheat stock available while as adequate stock of fertilizer will be available for the Rabi crop in 2021: Both stocks are adequate to meet the requirements of the country.
According to data collected, the meeting was informed that fertilizer companies based in Sindh have provided abnormally greater stock to some dealers in Sindh as compared to dealers in other areas of the country where it is required for meeting cultivation demands.
The prime minister expressed serious concern over the disproportionate stock distribution of urea and directed that fertilizer be provided to other areas as per requirement of farmers.
The prime minister emphasised that PTI government has introduced farmer friendly policies for the first time in the history of the country. However, he lamented that mafias are busy in profiteering rather than caring for interest of consumers.
He said that the government is providing Rs120 billion subsidy on gas to the fertilizer industry along with Rs100 billion worth tax incentives: Yet the fertilizer companies are supplying extra amount of fertilizer to specific dealers in some areas which reports indicate are involved in hoarding.
PM Imran regretted that this disparity has benefited the hoarders as a result of which artificial shortage has been created. The prime minister directed immediate crackdown on fertilizer hoarders and punitive action as per anti-profiteering and anti-hoarding laws.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said that Pakistan offers huge potential for e-commerce that will generate employment opportunities and help in economic growth. The PM observed this during a meeting with Group CEO of Daraz (online e-commerce platform) Bjarke Mikelsen, who called on him.
The premier welcomed Mikelsen and said that the government is providing full support to foreign investors under the ‘Ease-of-doing-Business’ policy. CEO Daraz expressed interest in further investment and expansion of e-commerce in Pakistan.
Advisor Finance Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Chairman STZA Amir Hashmi, Senator Aon Abbas Bappi, MD Daraz Ehsan Saya and Emmad Khan from Daraz were present during the meeting. Meanwhile, Group CEO of Veon (Multinational Telecommunication Services Company) Kaan Terzio’lu called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. The premier said that the youth of Pakistan can greatly benefit from leading international IT & telecom companies: Talent of Pakistani youth is un-paralleled and international companies are welcome for establishing ventures in Pakistan.
The prime minister emphasised on technology transfer and training of youth. The CEO Veon expressed interest in providing big data solutions. Advisor Finance Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Chairman PTA Maj. Gen. (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa and Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz were present during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister (CM) Khalid Khurshid called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here and the meeting discussed in detail the ongoing development works in the province.
The prime minister was informed that work on the provision of international standard facilities at tourist destinations in Gilgit-Baltistan was in full swing. The meeting also discussed issues related to the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam and power policy.
Meanwhile, PM Imran reiterated that recovering the forest land from land grabbers and encroachers is the government’s top priority to increase green cover of Pakistan. He was chairing a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) on Housing, Construction & Development here.
The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to multiply the country’s forest cover by ensuring forestation on encroached lands. He added, “Curbing on unauthorised land use and restricting horizontal sprawl of housing societies is essential to ensure food security and the provision of better civic amenities like water and sewerage”.
The prime minister directed that the cadastral survey findings should be shared with the provinces and it should be followed by swift action to retrieve public property. He directed the provinces and CDA to determine how many encroachments were made in the past and how many have been cleared. He declared that he would personally chair the fortnightly meetings to see what progress is made.
PM Imran underlined that the government is accountable to the people of Pakistan and it is its top priority to protect government land. He emphasised on adopting systematic approach to deal with ‘qabza mafia’ and directed the CDA chairman to create a special cell to save valuable public land marked for parks and forests.
Earlier, the prime minister was told that Surveyor General of Pakistan is working in active coordinating with CDA, Government of the Punjab and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to complete the cadastral records of government properties, Islamabad, Lahore and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
The meeting was attended by Advisor on Finance Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, MOS on Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, SAPM on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill, Governor State Bank Dr Reza Baqir and senior officers concerned. Chief Secretary Punjab and senior officers concerned from the government of Punjab joined the meeting via video link.