ISLAMABAD -  The federal cabinet Tuesday directed the provincial governments to ensure prompt payments to the sugarcane growers at the notified rates.

Discussing the issues being faced by the sugarcane growers, the federal cabinet showed concern and directed the provincial governments “to fulfill their responsibility towards ensuring prompt payments, at notified rates, to the farmers by the sugar mills immediately.” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the meeting of the federal cabinet at PM’s here. 

The government has been criticised for failing to implement grower-friendly policies as mill owners continue to exploit the farmers. The mill owners have been paying far lower than the set support price for sugarcane – Rs180 per 40 kilograms.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet, in its meeting in December 2017 had approved a minimum benefit of Rs15 billion for the millers through procurement of 300,000 tons of surplus sugar stock.

A federal minister who attended the meeting told The Nation that PM Abbasi was concerned over the plight of the farmers and vowed to resolve their payment issues within days.

“The PM and the cabinet members agreed that the growers must not be left at the mercy of the mill owners. The provincial government will be pressed to ensure resolution of this issue soon,” he added.

An official statement issued after the meeting said the cabinet approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of information between the Committee on Television and Radio of Tajikistan and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage of Pakistan.

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of labour and training between Pakistan and Oman was also approved.

The cabinet approved singing of arrangements on mutual cooperation in the field of justice administration between the Ministry of Law and Justice of Pakistan and the Ministry of Justice of Tunisia.

The cabinet approved enforcement of the Costs of Litigation Act, 2017 with effect from March 1, 2018.

The cabinet also approved a proposal for repatriation of Muhammad Naseem, Judge Banking Court-I Peshawar to Peshawar High Court Peshawar and appointment of Khawaja Wahijud Din, District and Session Judge as Judge Banking Court-I Peshawar, as recommended by Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court. 

The cabinet approved a proposal to appoint Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi, District and Session Judge, as Judge Special Court (Anti-Terrorism-I) Islamabad.

Proposal for notifying Maximum Retail Price of various drugs as well as reduction in prices of drugs in line with the Drug Pricing Policy was also approved, the statement said. 

Appointment of Dr Sheikh Akhtar Hussain against the post of Chief Executive Officer, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan for a period of three months was approved.

The cabinet directed Ministry of National Health Services to expedite process of appointment of regular Chief Executive Officer of Drug Regulatory Authority.

Approval of appointment of members of Board of Directors of Pakistan State Oil Company Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited was also accorded.

Approval in principle for legislation in respect of establishment of “Institute of Science and Technology Bahawalpur” was also accorded by the federal cabinet.