Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday approved the Punjab Agriculture, Food and Drug Authority. He gave the approval while addressing a meeting at Civil Secretariat.
“Establishment of the authority will ensure the provision of quality food, drugs, agriculture medicines and fertilisers to the people. The authority will be fully autonomous,” he said.
The CM said that after the establishment of a drug testing laboratory in Lahore, the existing labs in Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi would be upgraded. “These labs will be modelled after the lab set up in Lahore,” he said.
The chief minister said that work should be carried out expeditiously for modernising the drug testing labs in four major cities of the Punjab. “All matters in this regard should be dealt with in a professional manner. The new authority will help curb substandard and adulterated food, drugs, pesticides and insecticides,” he said.
He said that Punjab Agriculture Food and Drug Authority would be free from political interference.
He said that the process for recruiting staff for the new authority should be started. The CM said that a steering committee should oversee the process. “Those playing with human lives deserve no leniency. No one can be allowed to poison people in the name of food or medicine trade,” he said.
The chief minister said that the authority’s records and management should be digitised. “All required resources will be made available for the project,” he said.
The additional chief secretary briefed the chief minister about the process to set up the authority, its salient features and the draft law. Ministers Dr Farrukh Javed, Bilal Yasin and Adviser on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq were present.
Restaurants’ Invoice Monitoring System
A Restaurants’ Invoice Monitoring System (RIMS) was launched in Lahore on Tuesday. It is an online monitoring system for ensuring that the tax paid by restaurants reaches the government.
Addressing a meeting in this regard on Tuesday, the chief minister said that the RIMS would help promote a tax culture in the province. “The payment of taxes is a patriotic duty. The new system will help raise awareness among people regarding payment of taxes,” he said.
He said that a tax day would be observed in the Punjab to encourage tax payers. Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the finance secretary and the Punjab Revenue Authority head attended the meeting.
PML-N leaders meet CM
A delegation of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders from Sindh called on the chief minister on Tuesday.
The chief minister said that the PML-N leadership believed in serving people. “The situation of the country has considerably improved during the tenure of the present government. The country is moving towards progress and prosperity. The Transparency International, Berlin, has reported better rating for Pakistan with regards to transparent governance. Pakistan is the only country in the region whose rating has improved with regard to transparency. This is a huge success for the present government,” he said.
The chief minister said that the PML-N government was determined to overcome the energy crisis and terrorism. “Pakistan is more peaceful, safer and more stable economically today than it was in 2013. All the challenges facing the country will be dealt with through collective efforts,” he said.
MNA Ayaz Ali Shah Sherazi, MPA Syed Ejaz Ali Shah Sherazi, Syed Shafqaat Hussain Sherazi, Syed Riaz Hussain Sherazi and PML-N Thatta district president Haji Muhammad Hanif Memon were present.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2016.
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