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PM sets targets for ministers to fulfil IMF conditions: Tarar

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LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar on Sunday stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has given targets to ministers during the cabinet meeting to fulfil International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions.

In a press conference at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Secretariat in Lahore, he said that the prime minister chaired a cabinet meeting yesterday where he set goals for all ministers for the next five years.

“Each ministry has been instructed on what short-term and long-term programmes should be, and it has been decided by the prime minister that the performance of every minister will be evaluated,” he added.

“The achievement of ministry targets will be monitored using the latest technology. Written instructions detailing the targets have been issued to all ministries.”

Tarar stated that all ministries had been assigned targets aimed at addressing the challenges facing the country. He added, “The cabinet comprises experienced individuals, young talent, seasoned politicians, and technocrats.”

He said that targets were established based on a realistic approach, such as reducing inflation and unemployment, increasing GDP growth, restructuring loans, and digitising the Federal Board of Revenue within the finance ministry.

Tarar highlighted that ministers showing exceptional performance would be commended. “A self-accountability system had also been developed, with modern IT interventions used to evaluate ministry performance,” he added.

The information minister elaborated on the targets set for various ministries. For instance, he said, the interior ministry was tasked with cracking down on illegal weapons, devising anti-terrorism measures, addressing illegal foreign residents, and combating smuggling.

Additionally, Tarar said that coordination between the federal and provincial levels, similar to the National Action Plan’s implementation, would be ensured.

Regarding the law ministry, Tarar mentioned initiatives to enact laws safeguarding minorities and establish an e-portal for disseminating passed laws. A human rights report is scheduled for completion by September 2024, with a focus on law implementation, he added.

Tarar discussed targets for the Ministry of Industries, emphasising industrial development regulation and promoting the ship-breaking industry. He highlighted the potential of the minerals sector and set goals for mineral exploration and exportation.

He said that targets for the trade ministry included improving the ease of doing business and formulating trade agreements with friendly nations, adding that the education ministry was tasked with enrolling out-of-school children, increasing PhD scholarships, and devising strategies for skills development.

Tarar also addressed the privatisation of PIA and efforts to enhance the tax system. “Privatization of PIA would yield positive results on the country’s economy, adding that efforts were being made to overcome loopholes in the tax system,” he added.

He said that for the first time, businessmen who were playing a significant role in strengthening the country’s economy and who were big taxpayers had been rewarded.

“The austerity committee would submit a report regarding how to reduce government expenses to PM Shehbaz in the coming few days and in the light of which the premier would announce the austerity policy,” he maintained.

He stated that things would gradually improve and the government’s vision was clear in providing maximum relief to the people. In response to a question, he mentioned that the government would endeavour to open offices of all social media platforms in Pakistan, as this would be very helpful in creating jobs. Addressing another query, he emphasized the importance of documenting the black economy in the country.

He criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for focusing solely on political revenge during its tenure, adding that had the party adopted steps similar to those of the PML-N, the country would have been in a much better condition. He also lamented how the PTI had allegedly mismanaged the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In response to another question, he assured that the tax net would be expanded, and people would receive good news in the coming days. He remarked, “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif possesses full potential and knows how to execute plans to achieve desired results.”

Addressing another query, he highlighted the PML-N government’s belief in taking practical measures, citing the construction of 12 motorways, generation of 12,000 MW of electricity, initiation of laptop and Ashiana Housing schemes, and averting the country from default.

He further stressed the importance of producing quality films at the local level and mentioned the formulation of a policy to promote art films. Tarar affirmed that the government would support talented filmmakers and sponsor the upcoming film festival in Karachi.