Cabinet forms committee to amend NAB laws

Members say ‘draconian laws’ used for political victimisation, intimidating govt officers

Our Correspondent May 18, 2022


The federal cabinet on Wednesday constituted a committee, under the federal law minister, to amend the "draconian law" of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to do away with political victimisation.

The federal cabinet, which met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair, held a threadbare discussion on the amendments in NAB law, besides discussing other agenda items.

The said committee would comprise the representatives from legal, banking, bureaucracy and other sectors.

The cabinet members were of the view that NAB's "draconian law" had been used for political victimisation and to intimidate the government officers and the business community.

Due to the very reasons, the bureaucracy felt frightened while making the decisions, making the country suffer in critical matters.

Discussing the ongoing severe heatwave in the country, the cabinet also formed a special task force under the Ministry of Climate Change on the subject.

The task force would take measures to do away with the impacts of climate change to protect the country from future hazards.

A report on the review of Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rule 2020 was also presented to the cabinet.

It was told that the said rules consisted of regulations which were already part of the Government Servant (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 2020.

The cabinet members were of the view that the said rules were used to put pressure on the government officers which had no legal justification as overriding laws could not be made.

The members also called for a fair and an indiscriminate accountability process.

Approving the committee's recommendations, the federal cabinet annulled the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules 2020, and also approved the withdrawal of proceedings against the government officers under the said rules.

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The federal cabinet nodded to the design of a commemorative bank note to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan, on the recommendation of the finance ministry.

The finance ministry had proposed the printing of the note from an international firm which would cost $6.64 million. Rejecting the finance ministry's proposal, the federal cabinet decided that the bank note should be printed locally to save public money.

The commerce ministry briefed the federal cabinet on the detailed analysis on exports, imports and balance of payment.

It was told that export volume during fiscal year 2021-22 was $31.2 billion and the import stood at $76.7 billion. During the said period, exports increased by $4.95 billion and imports $11.16 billion.

The cabinet members were told that in order to increase the exports, it was essential to provide gas and electricity at the competitive rate at par with other countries in the region.

Moreover, the efforts should be made for early revival of the business activities hit by the Covid-19 pandemic besides extending facilities to investors and business community.

Apprising the cabinet of the factors behind increase in imports, the commerce ministry told that the price hike of energy led to the import bill. The import of Covid vaccine, wheat, sugar, cotton, steel and fertiliser and appreciation of the dollar also led to the import bill.

The cabinet directed the commerce ministry to furnish a detailed strategy to reduce import, enhance exports as well as for the import substitution.

The cabinet approved the formation of a policy formulation committee to promote industry, increase yield and enhance agro-based exports. The committee would consist of ministers of commerce, industries and production, national food security and the federal secretaries concerned.

The Ministry of Information Technology presented recommendations to enhance software exports.

The cabinet asked the ministry to present the recommendations before the Economic Coordination Committee and later again before the cabinet.

The prime minister said Pakistan had a huge potential of investment and exports in the IT sector which needed to be exploited. He also set a target of $15 billion export of IT products.

The federal cabinet also endorsed the decisions made by the ECC in its meeting held on May 16, 2022.

The ECC had allocated Rs52 billion for the Petroleum Division for the payment of price differential claims to the oil marketing companies and refineries which would be valid for 15 days starting May 16.

The committee had also approved the import of 200,000 metric tonnes of urea on government-to-government basis by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan for the Kharif season. (With input from APP)


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