ISLAMABAD: The cabinet on Tuesday decided that the tax on import of edible oil will be reduced from 7 pc to 2 percent, which will break the backbone of hoarders, and explanation will also be sought from chief secretaries on price hike.
The government has also decided to recover money from the rulers of the last 10 years that they had spent on their security, camp offices, foreign visits and personal comfort from the national exchequer. Sources said Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Mamnoon Hussain, Asif Ali Zardari, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Pervaiz Ashraf will come under radar.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PMO during which details of the expenditures by the former presidentsand prime ministers were discussed. Later, briefing the media, federal minister Murad Saeed said that during the last 10 years, the previous governments misused national exchequer in the name of security and foreign tours. Offering breakup of such expenditures, he said that former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had five camp offices, three in Lahore and two in Multan, and spent Rs245 million on his security. He said former president Asif Ali Zardari spent Rs3.16 billion on his security. He said Zardari had two camp offices in Larkana and Naudero before he became the President of Pakistan. He said Zardari used 246 vehicles and 656 police personnel for his personal security. Murad Saeed said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif spent 460,000 dollars on one US visit in 2015, but Imran Khan will complete his visit by spending only 60,000 dollars. He said Nawaz Sharif spent 327,000 pounds on his treatment in the United Kingdom in 2016 out of the taxpayers’ money and used a special aircraft of PIA. He maintained that that Raiwind residence of Nawaz Sharif was also declared a camp office and hefty amounts were spent on its security. He said total amount spent on the security of Raiwind was and Rs4.3 billion.
Murad Saeed claimed that former chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif spent Rs8.7 billion on his security. He said that every family member of Shahbaz Sharif used separate security squad, whereas Shahbaz Sharif bought a new helicopter worth Rs1.3 billion. He said the ex-CM also spent Rs410 million on use of Nawaz Sharif’s aircraft. He said a total of 2,717 security personnel were deployed on the security of Sharif family.
Contrary to this, the minister said, Imran Khan spent money on fencing of his Banigala residence and build the road leading to his house in Banigala from his own pocket. Talking about the austerity measures of the incumbent government, he said there is a reduction of 85.6 percent in security expenditure of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and 60 percent reduction in expenditure on his movement. He said no camp offices are being used by the incumbent chief minister. He said the money saved in this way will be spent on the welfare of under privileged segments of the society.
Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, who led the team that briefed the media, said the prime minister is of the view that the government is ready to listen to the problems of traders, but there will be no compromise on the registration process of traders to include them in the tax net. She said a committee has been constituted to submit its recommendations to the cabinet on the verdict of the World Bank’s Arbitration Court on Riko Diq case. She said the committee has been formed a day after the announcement by the prime minister to establish a commission to probe the circumstances that led to the fiasco. She said the committee will submit its recommendations, point out those responsible and devise future strategy in this regard. oil
Firdous said the committee headed by Law Minister Farough Naseem will include Hammad Azhar, Dr Isharat Hussain, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and Syed Qasim. She said that it has been decided that Murad Saeed will brief every cabinet meeting about the foreign tours of the Sharif family and expenditures incurred by them illegally. She said the cabinet issued directives for appointing permanent heads in all the departments which are being run without permanent heads. oil
The special assistant said that it has been decided that a mechanism will be devised to keep an eye on the prices of items of daily use like pulses and wheat flour. She said it has been decided that the tax on import of edible oil will be reduced from 7 percent to 2 percent, which will break the backbone of the hoarders. She told the media that the cabinet discussed possible measures needed for improvement in the management of land record by the revenue department. She said that the matter will be taken up in the next cabinet meeting. Briefing about the important decisions taken by the cabinet regarding Clean and Green Pakistan, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the cabinet has decided to ban manufacturing, selling, buying and use of polythene bags. He said initially the ban will be imposed in the federal capital from the 14th of next month. He said fine ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs500,000 will be imposed on violation. Amin Aslam said that 140 million saplings will be planted during the monsoon season in the current year.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on July 17th, 2019)