LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted at a “mega crackdown” on money laundering, reassuring the business community of the country not to worry over the downfall in the rupee value as the government is trying to bring down the current account deficit.
Addressing a business community delegation on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran said money laundering was causing a loss of $10 billion to the country annually.
“We are bringing legislation next week to initiate a major clampdown against this menace,” the prime minister told traders.
He said there was no need to worry over the rupee depreciation. .
“The government is trying to bring down the current account deficit. We have got very positive response from Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates. Several international companies are keen to invest in Pakistan,” he said. “Foreign direct investment is necessary for development.”
Imran said that he was misinterpreted about his comment related to livestock farming. “People should understand that even small things can make a big difference. It is the philosophy of the government that a support of mere Rs10,000 to small farmers could make a big difference in the lives of small farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of the provincial cabinet at the Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Imran reviewed the performance of the provincial legislators.
He lauded the provincial government for its efforts to achieve goals of the ‘100-day agenda’. He directed the Punjab lawmakers to accelerate measures for improving the socioeconomic status of a common man.
Imran ordered the provincial government to demolish the boundary wall of the Punjab Governor House. He also directed Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to monitor the performance of all provincial departments.
During the meeting, the provincial ministers gave presentations about the performance of their respective departments and highlighted their future strategies to bring change in common man’s life.
He ordered the ministers to refrain from supporting corrupt officials.
Imran urged members of Punjab cabinet to play a leading role in public welfare projects. He said their performance would be acknowledged only by a visible change in the life of common man. He said the province had witnessed a great change after three decades, where the people had suffered throughout.
Taking cognisance of hike in the prices of daily use items, the prime minister directed the ministers to identify the reasons behind inflated rates and take action against those responsible. He directed them to monitor prices of essential commodities and constitute price control committees to regulate them.
Provision of justice and good governance were the only standards for public appreciation, he said. He also directed that efficient public servants should be encouraged so that they could put in their best efforts for the welfare of masses.
Stressing the need for good governance in the country in general and in Punjab in particular, he told the ministers to ensure the implementation of the government’s agenda of poverty alleviation, provision of healthcare, education and employment and supporting the farmers.
The prime minister said today’s Pakistan is different from the past. However, a stiff resistance existed in the country from the agents of status quo. “The pro-status quo political class wants to cover up its loot and plunder under the garb of safeguarding the democracy,” he said.
“You have to play a leading role and win this contest. You have to play your fullest role as agents of change. Only this way, you will emerge as a real leader,” he remarked. “We have to think of the ever-marginalized segment. Only such a feeling could found a society on the pattern of Madina state.
Speaking to media later, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said the prime minister expressed his satisfaction over provincial government’s performance. He said the premier has ordered removal of the boundary wall of the Punjab Governor’s House and his direction will be implemented soon.
He said that the prime minister expressed his reservations over the transfers and postings in the provincial government departments. He warned provincial ministers that he would not spare anyone if their names were surfaced in any such case.
The minister said the PTI government had pledged to convert several state buildings into educational institutions, museums, parks and hotels. The Governor’s House will be converted into public park, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Governor House will be converted into women’s park and museum.
The Nathiya Gali Government House will be transformed into a boutique hotel. The Quetta Governor House will also be turned into a public park. Similarly, Prime Minister House will be converted into a big international university.
He highlighted that Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretariat’s expense have been reduced from Rs5.5 million to Rs0.8 million a month. Chohan said the provincial government would organise an event next week to highlight its performance during first 100 days in office.