ISLAMABAD- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while chairing a cabinet meeting tiday, said the current program for the reduction of load shedding in electricity is “the most comprehensive plan in the history of Pakistan.”

The premier spoke about various methods by which the economy of the country can improve, with his main focus on boosting exports. “We want to double our exports, in fact we want to increase them four-fold… eight-fold, and this is doable,” Nawaz said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that delay in completion of projects leads to escalation of cost. Neelum Jhelum project was started by the previous government and delay in its completion has increased its cost manifold. Therefore efforts should be geared up for timely completion of projects to avoid escalation in cost.

Nawaz Sharif said energy and infrastructure projects including development of Gwadar as a state of art port will prove to be a game changer for the country. A comprehensive plan has been chalked out to address the electricity shortages. The Prime Minister directed the Planning Commission to prioritize sectoral reforms. He said exports should be boosted in order to enhance foreign exchange reserves and ensure balance of payment. This will also lead to alleviation of poverty and unemployment.

He told the ministers seated in front of him that if there is to be improvement in the country’s Balance of Payments, reserves, economy, agriculture, and if there are ways to eliminate or reduce unemployment and poverty, then the only way to do this would be to increase exports. The prime minister congratulated Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on his work, and told him he can “drive the whole government”.

Further, he asked his ministers to priorities what reforms they want to take up immediately and which ones can be taken up after six months. The Ministry of Water and Power assured the Cabinet on Thursday that steps were being taken by distribution companies (DISCOs) regarding the issue of over-billing of electricity. The water and power minister further said that they would also make additional efforts to address complaints through an effective system at the DISCO-level.

Inflated electricity bills had triggered protests in several towns and cities, forcing the premier to order an audit of the issue. The PM said Pak China will sign a new power project of 400 MW during his visit to China this week. Earlier, the prime minister also asked the authorities concerned to arrest the culprits involved in burning to death a Christian couple in Kot Radha Krishan, Kasur.

The premier directed all ministers to apprise the cabinet about the performance of their respective ministries and departments ever since 2013 and that to what extent the PML-N’s party manifesto has been implemented, source said. Reports say the cabinet will be reshuffled following the review of the performances. The portfolios of the ministers, who failed in making their mark since the formation of the government, will be changed. Some ministers are likely to be sacked from their ministries over their failure, sources said.