ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday suggested that the government should print currency notes and pour capital into the electricity sector in order to overcome loadshedding, Express News has reported.
During the federal cabinet session, Gilani said, “We can print currency notes and pour capital in the electricity sector in order to overcome loadshedding”.
Gilani’s suggestion surprised ministers present in the session, however, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, while endorsing the prime minister’s statement, said that the “2-3% rise in inflation could be overcome within a few years” and that there was no problem in printing money.
The participants also suggested that the recovery of dues that different sectors owed Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) could be handed over to Malik to curb the circular debt.
However, this idea was opposed by some ministers, saying that this will cause a dispute between the trader community and industry with Wapda.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that Wapda does not have a system to gauge the amount of electricity needed by different cities. He said that Wapda needs to develop a system to properly distribute electricity within the cities, prioritising on the demand.
Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar could not answer a question asked 3-4 times in the session about the capacity of the electricity produced by Wapda.
Gilani says decision on Nato supplies be taken considering national interest
Gilani said that the decision on resumption of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) supply routes will be taken considering Pakistan’s national interest.
The prime minister said that the government has not compromised on its principles in the past and will not do so in the future.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is likely to be formally approved by the federal cabinet to reopen vital land routes for foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan.
He said that the government does not want to take an “emotional” decision which will not be beneficial for the country.
Reiterating his stance on the right to appeal the Supreme Court’s verdict in the contempt of court case, Gilani said that he is not “scared of any threats” and that he will continue to guard the constitution.
Earlier, Gilani had said that Pakistan’s relationship with 48 countries serving in the Nato cannot be put on stake just because of the US.
On Tuesday, Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) finally gave a go-ahead to lift the almost six-month old blockade on Nato supplies passing through the country.
The supplies were suspended in November last year in reprisal to a Nato air raid on a Pakistani border post that had killed 24 soldiers and strained Pakistan-US relations to the breaking point.
PM briefs cabinet on UK visit
The prime minister said that during his visit to the United Kingdom from May 8 to May 13, 2012, he met UK’s Queen Elizabeth on her diamond jubilee and her reign of 60 years as head of the Commonwealth at the British Deputy High Commission.
He said that he also attended a parliamentary reception held by the speaker.
“I also visited Buckingham Palace for a meeting with Duke of York,” said Gilani. “Apart from the enhanced strategic dialogue review, all major ministers called on me for detailed discussions on various strands of cooperation between Pakistan and the UK.”
The premier said that the warm welcome given to him as an elected prime minister reflects the importance and confidence the UK government attaches to its relations with a democratic Pakistan.
He said that British Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the fact that the current government of Pakistan was working to strengthen democracy in the country.
“His categorical statement that Pakistan’s friend is UK’s friend and Pakistan’s enemy is UK’s enemy was a strong reiteration of Pakistan’s standing and importance in the committee of nations.”
Gilani further said that the UK has vowed to build a deeper, stronger relationship with Pakistan and that that it wants to strengthen relations in the fields of trade, defence, health and education.
“We [Pakistan and the UK] have also agreed to boost bilateral trade,” he said.
Cabinet apprised of CASA-1000 project
While reviewing the status of the implementation of the cabinet’s decisions pertaining to Water and Power Division, the cabinet meeting was informed by Qamar that the CASA-1000 Megawatt project meeting being held in Dubai was expected to make substantial progress.
CASA-1000 is a joint project of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prime Minister Gilani told the cabinet that economic indicators of Pakistan’s economy were moving in the right direction despite the global recession and the devastating floods of 2010 and 2011.
Shaikh assured the cabinet that full financial support will be extended to the Ministry of Water & Power to eliminate unscheduled loadshedding immediately and also to decrease scheduled loadshedding at the same time.
For this purpose, it was decided to utilise the full thermal and hydel power generation capacity in the country.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly mentioned hydel power as hydal power. The error is regretted.