Chief minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that the granting of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to the nation by the European Union (EU) was an auspicious omen that was strengthening the national economy.
He was speaking to an EU delegation led by Development and Economic Cooperation Director Marc Vanheukelen. The chief minister expressed grief over the untimely deaths of two ambassadors and the spouses of two other envoys in the recent helicopter crash in Naltar. He said the government and the nation shared the sorrow of the families of the deceased.
The chief minister said EU member states had extended all out assistance to Pakistan with regard to getting the status. He said comprehensive measures were being implemented to derive maximum benefit from the status. The chief minister said a cabinet committee had been constituted to ensure the implementation of conventions associated with the status.
Sharif said the Labour Department had been given the responsibility of eradicating child labour at brick kilns within six months. He said the department would have to work around-the-clock to realise this goal. The chief minister said women and minority-friendly legislation had been introduced. He said women were being provided interest-free loans on priority basis to make them financially independent. The chief minister said 50,000 vehicles had been provided to the youth under the Apna Rozgar Scheme.
The chief minister said thousands of children had been benefiting from the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said the fund’s income was also being used to finance scholarships for students from other provinces. Sharif said over 100,000 students would read at education institutions in the nation and abroad with the fund’s assistance by the end of the financial year. He said scholarships were being awarded to students on merit. Sharif said special attention was being given to creating a skilled workforce in accordance with the needs of the market. He said the scope of the Skills Development Programme was being widened to encompass the entire province. Sharif said the programme was being implemented with the assistance of the British Department for International Department (DFID). He said the education and health sectors were also being reformed with DFID’s assistance.
The chief minister said steps were being taken to empower women. He said the government had been striving to generate power from conventional and alternative resources to overcome the energy crisis.
The members of the delegation said the steps taken by the government regarding the implementation of conventions associated with the status were encouraging. They said the government had been performing remarkably under Sharif’s leadership.
Computerisation of land records
Computerisation of land records will put an end to patwari culture, Sharif said.
He was speaking at a meeting convened to review progress on the Land Record Information Management System. Sharif said the Rs1 billion-project would provide great relief to the people. The chief minister said the project would enable people to immediately obtain ownership deeds. He said the project would enable the provision of all land documents under a single roof. The chief minister said over records of over 24,000 villages had been computerised under the initiative. He said the project must be completed within its stipulated timeframe at all costs. Sharif said the quick progress should be made on the establishment of a state-of-the-art data centre.
He said an effective plan should be formulated to preserve old records. The chief minister said service centres should be established at the sub-tehsil level. He said steps should be taken regarding the constitution of the Land Record Management Information Authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2015.