| Federal cabinet defers proposal to raise licence fee of PTV | Faraz says power outages in Karachi will be settled in next few days | PM Imran Khan expresses displeasure over non-payment | Directs to pay all outstanding amounts of media houses by next week

ISLAMABAD          -     The federal cabinet has decided to defer increase in monthly fee for license of state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television (PTV) for next one week, said Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz while addressing news conference here on Tuesday.

While briefing the media about the federal cabinet’s meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier in the day,  he said that the erstwhile regimes of PPP and PML-N had destroyed the state-run broadcaster and overstaffed it with appointments on political grounds.

Shibli Faraz underlined that the government has decided unanimously to overhaul the state-run broadcaster adding that the decision to hike the licence fee has been deferred till next week. He also stated that the approval for increased fee of PTV license from Rs 35 to Rs 100 will be decided after further deliberation.

The minister also maintained that the PTV management had earlier proposed to increase its revenue by increasing the TV licence fees, maintaining that public broadcasters around the world are supported by their governments to project their national narrative and that the nominal amount being charged is not enough to meet the requirements of the institution.

The minister said that the prevailing crisis in PTV could be settled in six months if the federal cabinet approves the increase in license fee for PTV. He stated that the erstwhile regimes are responsible for the havoc in state institutions including in PTV and added that elements who are talking against NAB made destruction in state institutions during their regimes.

Commenting on the prevailing issue relating to assets and dual nationalities of Advisors to Prime Minister, he said that everyone being a public representative should declare their assets adding that the federal cabinet has hailed the decision to declare assets.

Syed Shibli Faraz also said the Prime Minister directed to pay all the outstanding amounts of media houses by next week.

Regarding availability of wheat and wheat flour in the market, Syed Shibli Faraz said the government has allowed public and private sector to import the commodity to avoid any shortage. He said Sindh Government will be requested to waive off excise duty on import of wheat.

The Minister said cabinet also approved Treasury Single Account Rules 2020, amendments in the Anti-Money Laundering Bill 2020, amendments in Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, and National Health Emergency Response Act 2020.

The information minister also said that PM Imran Khan has expressed his displeasure over the non-payment of outstanding dues of advertisements adding that the PM has warned all the ministries to pay outstanding payments regarding advertisements.

The information ministry should pay all dues as early as possible by taking funds from all subsequent ministries. Talking about the rising prices of flour and wheat, the prime minister sought a briefing from all the concerned ministries and instructed all departments that any obstruction for smooth supply of wheat and floor will not be tolerated, said the information minister.

He also said that the federal cabinet approved an amendment regarding single treasury bank accounts adding that the federal cabinet has also approved the anti-money laundering amendment bill.

The federal cabinet also approved proposed amendments regarding the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, said the Minister adding that the federal cabinet also approved the National Health Emergency Respond Act to make harmony among the federation and the provinces in the face of any natural calamity.

He said that the coronavirus pandemic situation is under control. However, strict implementation will be made to ensure preventive measures against coronavirus on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha.

The minister said that the federal cabinet has also approved the Islamabad Capital Treasury Act regarding Evacuee Properties adding that public will be facilitated for relaxed markup on low prices houses from banks. The federal cabinet was also briefed in detail on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, said the minister adding that political opponents of PTI government have also admitted transparency in the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has also conveyed it categorically that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has not been initiated for political benefits but to seek Allah’s forgiveness and blessings. The information minister also expressed grief over the loss of lives in Turbat blast. He said that he got the news and information about the kidnapping of journalist Matiullah Jan after the meeting of the federal cabinet and he had coordinated with the Interior Ministry on this issue.

Commenting on the increased loadshedding in Karachi, the minister said that power outages issue in Karachi will be settled in next few days.