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Fawad says federal govt’s funds being misused in Karachi

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry  on Thursday said that it was the responsibility of the federal government to develop and resolve the issues of Karachi, adding that they have received several complaints over the misuse of funds in the city.

Addressing media after a federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the federal minister said it was the responsibility and  top priority of the government to solve the problems of Karachi.

He said the government aimed to develop Karachi and Balochistan for the economic prosperity of the nation, and a construction company will be used for development projects in the city.

He complained that funds by the federal government weren’t be utilised properly in Karachi and they have received several complaints in this regard. He said the water and security issues in Karachi were known and it was their responsibility to resolve them and take the people of the metropolis in confidence.

He said that twelve prominent personalities of the federal government belonged to Karachi, and it was the first time the city had received such a large representation in the federation.

“Karachi came out of ethnic politics after a long time, and gave the mandate to the PTI,” he said.

He announced Governor Sindh will lead a task force to improvement in Karachi which includes provincial MPAs and prominent personalities of Karachi. The committee will decide on the utilisation of funds for the betterment of Karachi, he said.

FATA secretariat to be abolished

The federal minister said the cabinet meeting also overviewed FATA reforms and implementation of the erstwhile tribal area’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The meeting was briefed on the FATA task force and decided to abolish the FATA Secretariat and the administrative affairs would now be under the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

He said that all provinces would have to make adjustments in the NFC Award after which three percent share would be given to FATA. He said that PM Imran Khan has directed to expedite the process to make adjustments in the NFC Award.

He said the cabinet has also decided to devise a new policy on arm licenses. as previous governments had stopped the issuance of automatic arms licenses, which was declared void by the high court and subsequently appealed in the Supreme Court.

He said the government was withdrawing the review petition as the issuance of arms licenses was the prerogative of the provincial governments which are able to handle such issues much better.

No more than three annual foreign tours for federal ministers

He further said that Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation  Authority (ERRA) would be merged with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and 950 employees would also be adjusted in the disaster management authority and no one will be dismissed.

He said that laws are being made regarding foreign tours, and there will be one-third decline in foreign visits. He said that federal ministers, apart from the foreign minister,  will not be allowed on more than three foreign tours per year and necessary visits would be scrapped from several ministries.

Sugar crushing season from Nov 15

He said there was over two million tonnes of sugars in the country, and the sugar mills owners will be facilitated in sugar exports. He said that sugar mills owners have demanded to start the crushing season from November 30 which is a big injustice to the sugarcane growers.

He added the situation of farmers and growers was not good and insisted that the crushing season would commence from November 15. He said the federal government aimed to provide maximum facilities to farmers and peasants and will support them.

He said the last cabinet meeting also decided to audit the LNG terminals which showed exorbitant increase in rates. “If there is accountability, then there are protests and they see it as injustice,” he said, adding that previous governments meddled in the economic affairs of the nation.

Govt to investigate LNG terminals case

Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was investigating the case of LNG terminals which was also being heard in the Supreme Court.

He said that agreement with two LNG terminals was signed on April 30, 2014 and they  invested $21 million in the country. However, the terminals started operating in January 2018 but the agreement was valid from July 2016, causing the federal government to pay $245,000 per day to the LNG terminals.

Therefore, he said it needs to be see if the agreements with two terminals were made on ill-intention as an exorbitant amount was being made, and an equity of 44 percent was not made anywhere in the world. He said federal government had decide to launch an enquiry into the case.

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