ISLAMABAD  – Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the country was borrowing money from international donors to repay the loans received by the previous governments. His statement came after he chaired a federal cabinet meeting which discussed the current balance of payments crisis facing the country.

Imran Khan said it needed to be assessed as to why the debt was accumulated in the first place, adding that a “detailed analysis is required on which projects the funds were spent upon.” He added that the analysis would enable the country to take an informed decision regarding repayment.

The premier appreciated the Naya (new) Pakistan Housing Scheme terming it “Pakistan’s most ambitious housing scheme,” and added that the initiative was aimed at strengthening the housing sector, boosting the economy and employment.

Later, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, while briefing the media on the cabinet meeting, said that the government had directed the interior ministry to review the Exit Control List and remove the names of ‘innocent people.’

The minister said more than 3000 people were on ECL and all of them were not wanted in any case.

Chaudhry said the cabinet also asked the National Accountability Bureau to expedite process of investigation in order to bring the culprits to justice.

He said the cabinet decided to appoint Air Vice Marshal Arshad Khan as the Pakistan International Airlines chairman to oversee affairs of the national airline. Chaudhry said the PIA was under debt burden of Rs406 billion with a monthly operational loss of Rs2 billion.

He said advertisements have been placed in media for appointment of new Chief Executive Officer of the airline. The minister said restructuring plan of the PIA had also been submitted to Finance Minister.

Chaudhry said the cabinet decided to investigate construction cost of New Islamabad International Airport that exceeded from Rs38 billion to more than Rs100 billion.

He said the cabinet discussed at length the procedure and course of action for the newly-launched Naya Pakistan Housing Programme by the Prime Minister.

He said it was decided that state lands would be kept as collateral to banks while people will build their houses on that land.

The minister said the government had retrieved vast lands from encroachment mafia which will be utilised for this purpose in addition to spare lands owned by some government departments.

“The Apna Ghar (personal house) Authority will start working in two months’ time to build five million houses for people as promised in the PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) manifesto,” he added.

Chaudhry said the cabinet also gave approval to appointment of Aun Abbas as new Managing Director of the Pakistan Baitul Maal (house of wealth). A new chairman of Privatisation Commission has also been approved, he added.

The minister said an amendment had been approved in Section 35 of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules to expedite the process of buying urea for upcoming wheat crop.

He said the cabinet also accorded approval to constitute a committee headed by Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood that will look into the issues of K-Electric and Shanghai Electric.

The cabinet gave approval to the salaries of employees of Pakistan Steel Mills for the month of August.

 

 

Borrowing to repay previous loans

(SHAFQAT ALI)