PM defers axle load policy for a year

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VIAMubarak Zeb Khan
SOURCEDawn News
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the Frontier Works Organisation to defer the implementation of axle load condition in a move to appease the agitating traders protesting against the government’s documentation drive. policy

Chairing a meeting of his economic team, the premier also tasked Finance Adviser Dr Hafeez Shaikh and Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi to work out a better package for traders in consultation with the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to an official source, he asked Zaidi to meet with traders on Monday to further discuss their demands. “We will hold a meeting with the traders on Monday,” FBR chairman also confirmed to Dawn.

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The chairman said that his team is regularly meeting the representatives of traders and the finance adviser will also be holding talks with IMF on their proposals. “We will sort out some deal for them,” he said.

Soon after the direction of the prime minister, FWO deferred the implementation of the axle load policy on M-9 motorway for one year. The decision was taken at the request of the trader community.

All these measures are in line to pacify the agitating traders, who have already announced countrywide protests scheduled for Oct 29 and 30.

Transporters involved in Afghan transit trade have also complained about the strict implementation of axle load condition implemented by the National Highway Authority (NHA).

Traders believe that NHA implementation of these measures is stricter in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and not in Balochistan, which leads to diversion of trade to that province.

The agenda also included discussing the formulation of a policy for small and medium enterprises (SME) sector.

The premier was informed the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority CEO will be appointed by December and a three-year strategy would be formulated in this regard while its board of directors has already been nominated. He further asked his team to focus on uplifting the construction and SME sectors.

He also acknowledged the country’s recent improvement in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index and lauded the relevant departments.

Briefing the prime minister, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir said that around 46,940 cases have been pending with the banking courts and their early disposal required legal reforms.

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The premier remarked that the value of the rupee had regained stability and the stock market indicators are showing improvement. He also directed his team to facilitate overseas Pakistanis by smoothing the process of sending remittances.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Ali Zaidi, Omar Ayub Khan and Hammad Azhar, Advisers Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razak Dawood and Ishrat Hussain, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gilani and senior officers.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2019

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