G-20 suspends Pakistan’s $3.17bn debt payment by year-end: Fawad

Says cabinet approved national digital cable policy; cinemas may reopen from 30th; implementation of PSDP projects to be monitored

ISLAMABAD: The G-20 has suspended Pakistan’s debt payment of $3.17 billion by the end of this year.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary shared this at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying this is yet another positive development for the country’s economy.

Briefing the media persons about the cabinet decisions, he said that the federal cabinet has decided to monitor the implementation of development projects under the Public Sector Development Programme. He also said that a mechanism will be evolved in order to ensure timely availability of funds for the development projects.

The minister said that a third party evaluation of the development projects will be carried out in order to ensure transparency. He said that the annual PSDP for the next fiscal year is of Rs900 billion, and most of the mega projects for Sindh will be financed from it.

Fawad said that the cabinet approved implementation of storm water drains projects under Karachi transformation programme. The cabinet also approved the National Digital Cable Policy. He said the digitalisation of cable will improve the quality and ensure the people have access to more television channels.  He said, “We will also give rights to the cable operators to purchase content.”

Fawad added that the move will also help increase the number of channels to up to 900 to 950, such as those related to science, technology and history. Moreover, he maintained, the channels will be run on the subscription model to create a futuristic media scene.

Fawad said that there is also a proposal to reopen the cinemas from the 30th of this month. He said the final decision to this effect will be taken by the National Command and Operator Centre.

“Have spoken to the NCOC and Asad Umar has promised that cinemas will be reopened by June 30. However, a final decision will be taken by the NCOC,” he clarified.

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