ISLAMABAD - The Prime Minister has approved issuance of work visa to foreigners working in multi-national or national companies in Pakistan. The visa will be on the recommendation of Board of Investment by Ministry of Interior as was the practice prior to August 3, 2007. The present procedure of issuing work visa by Board of Investment has been withdrawn immediately. Meanwhile, Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain called on Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at PM House Tuesday afternoon. The Advisor briefed the Prime Minister on new petroleum policy and the status of IPI pipeline project. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that the government was framing policies for more sustainable economic growth and improvement in the economic conditions of the masses. He said this while addressing a three-day conference on 'Economic sustainability in a globalised world organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). Gilani mentioned several steps taken in this regard including reversing of anti-agricultural bias, which was a hallmark of the previous regimes economic policies. We have provided incentives to farmers through higher agricultural prices and timely provision of inputs to boost the agricultural output which is already having a positive impact, he said. He also said that the government has launched Benazir Income Support Programme to improve the economic conditions of the poor people. Under the programme, he said, Rs 34 billion would be distributed among 3.4 million poor families and it would be expanded further to seven million poor households. We want that inflation should come down to single digit and try to maintain 3 per cent growth rate of the GDP in the second half of this year, he said. He mentioned nine-point agenda approved by the Cabinet that provides an overall framework for medium-term development strategy, covers macroeconomic stability, lays emphasis on agriculture as a leading sectors, helps increase industrial competitiveness, human resources development and ensures good governance. He further said that unprecedented hike in oil and food prices created severe macroeconomic imbalances, as poor economic management and inaction by the previous government further worsened the situation. Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, said that planning process must be for the people and by the people. In the past as consequences of the military government, the infrastructure has deteriorated and we have inherited food deficit and wastefulness, he added. He said that we need serious change in input consumption, infrastructure, export, import and planning along with security needs for future of Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion Makhdoom Shahbuddin, Minister for Planning and Development, said the government is facing several challenges and the economy needs peace for growth. The government has initiated a number of steps and they are producing right results. He further said that increase in support prices announced by the Prime Minister would boost growth in the agriculture sector. Dr Rashid Amjad, President Pakistan Society of Development, said that according to IMF estimates, 50 million jobs would be lost in near future in all over the world, which is the highest loss of jobs ever. He said that energy crisis, which has caused 12 hours load-shedding a day, is the biggest factor in crippling the industry, services and agriculture sectors. He said Pakistan is also facing food security issue and despite the recent downfall, the global food prices are still higher in 2009 by 71 per cent, as compared to 2005. John W Mellor, President Johan Mellor Associates Inc USA, delivered his lecture on Agriculture Development and Food Security. In his lecture, he highlighted the evidence of close association between the agriculture growth and the poverty reduction. Afia Malik, Senior Research Economist, PIDE, said that oil prices shocks have raised serious concerns among the policy makers around the world because of its adverse impacts for the net oil importing economies. She analysed the impact of rising oil prices along with the changing macro- conditions on output using the monetary policy and augmented Philips curve for Pakistan. Muhammad Arshad Khan, Senior Research Economist, PIDE, in his report suggested that electricity and coal consumption respond positively to changes in real income per capita and negatively to changes in domestic price level. Laura Giurca Vasilescu, Associate Professor University of Craiova, Romania, in the lecture said that the agricultural and food sectors of the European Union (EU) has shown great resilience and adaptability over the last decades to a rapidly changing technological, economic and social environment. Laura said that outlook for EU agricultural markets over the next years appear fairly favourable, most notably for the arable crops and dairy sectors. However, these projections are particularly sensitive to critical assumptions regarding the economic environment, policy developments (notably for trade and bio-fuels) and remain subject to some uncertainties.