Cabinet endorses gas tariff hike proposed by ECC

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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday endorsed a hike in gas tariff and other decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The meeting of the federal cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to sources, the meeting was briefed on the government’s 100-day plan and formation of various task forces.

Members of the federal cabinet were also taken into confidence regarding the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme and the relevant ministries briefed them on acquiring land for the project as well as its economic outline.  A 10-point agenda focusing on the country’s economic and political situation was discussed during the meeting, sources added.

They said that the cabinet accorded approval for the formation of a special committee to draft a new arms policy.

Earlier, reports had suggested that Finance Minister Asad Umar will take cabinet members into confidence regarding negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A day earlier, PM Khan said that Pakistan might not have to approach the IMF for loans. In a meeting with journalists, the prime minister expressed hope that the government will be able to fix economic issues soon with its policies.

The government is also in contact with friendly countries for resolution of economic issues, he said.

The government recently announced its decision to approach IMF amid severe criticism from the opposition for taking a U-turn on the issue.

However, according to a British media report, one of the possible reasons for PM Khan not approaching IMF can be the country’s dependence on Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is holding talks with the kingdom over this matter and investments in big power projects were also being discussed, the report added.

Discussions were also being held with Saudi Arabia over deferred oil payments, the report further said.

During the last federal cabinet meeting held on October 11, the premier directed the Ministry of Finance to hold a thorough probe into the loans taken by the former governments in the past ten years and their utilisation.

The cabinet had also accorded approval for the appointment of Air Marshal Arshad Malik as chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Aoun Abbas as the chairman of Baitul Maal.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while addressing the media after the meeting had also announced that measures were being taken to crack down on smuggling of mobile phones. By this year’s end, smuggled phones would not be operational in the country, the minister asserted.

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