ISLAMABAD - In order to improve the image of the government, the Ministry of Information yesterday held a day-long seminar, where top bureaucrats presented fancy statistics of future projects but avoided to answer media questions.

Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources Arshad Mirza, giving performance of his ministry, said that between June 2013 - June 2015, above one trillion cubic feet of gas was added to reserves, while 26 discoveries above one trillion cubic feet were under evaluation.

He said that 16 mmbbl oil was discovered and added to gas reserves, while 30,000 BBL, additional oil was added.

He said with additional supplies a record oil production of 100,698 billion barrels per day was obtained on December 7, 2014.

Mirza said that seven cargo ships of imported LNG have arrived. He said the combined efforts contributed Rs. 1000 billion to the national exchequer.

Secretary Water and Power, Younis Dhaga, said that preference to cheaper fuels and strict enforcement of merit resulted in saving foreign exchange of $415 million with 3 percent additional generation.

He said the benefit of oil price reduction was transferred to public in the form of monthly fuel price adjustment and public saved Rs. 120 billion on electricity bills.

Dhaga said transparency in load management was observed by monitoring real time data of all feeders in Discos control centres, adherence to schedule of laod shedding, which resulted in zero load shedding for industry and predictable load shedding for domestic consumers to large extent.

He said by reducing line losses and improved recoveries benefit of more than Rs. 50 billion was obtained in one year.

He said that in Faisalabad and Gujranwala distribution companies’ recoveries were improved to 90 percent. He said by 2016, 75 percent of consumers will get image of their meter reading on their monthly bills while in most of the consumers will have future smart metering.

Later, a question-answer session was held on the occasion.

To a question as to when all those efforts would be translated into ending power crisis from the country, the secretary water and power and petroleum did not respond. Both top bosses were rescued by the stage secretary who ended the session just after taking couple of questions.

Muhammad Zubair, State Minister for Privatization, did not respond to a question regarding PIA privatisation.

“It is a sensitive matter, I cannot comment on it, however, I can assure you that transparency has been observed in every transaction of his department,” said Zubair and left hurriedly as he had to attend a standing committee meeting.

Chairman PTA Ismail was the only one who remained on the stage and answered tough questions in his polite, open and friendly style.

He explained that how his department ensured transparency during the last auction of 3G and 4G spectrum auction.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in his long speech presented performance of his government. He explained that transparency had been strictly observed by the present government in every field, and it has resulted in increasing the foreign reserves.

He also did not take media questions and left after delivering his speech.

APP adds: Earlier, in his address, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the PML-N government firmly believed in transparency and good governance,  so it did not feel shy of any scrutiny to judge its performance.

He said that the hallmark of the efforts of the government in reviving the economy had of course been transparency. The fact that no mega-corruption scandal, unlike the past, had been reported and unearthed either by the vigilant media or the transparency monitoring agencies, was a proof of commitment of the PML(N) government to do things in right direction and in transparent manner.

The minister said that holding of the seminar on this issue by the government, in itself was a testimony to this fact.

He said that the purpose of convening the seminar was to conduct an appraisal of transparency in public sector with regards to development efforts of the government during the last two and a half years.

He hoped the seminar would prove to be quite informative for the guests and particularly those from the diplomatic community.

The minister said the seminar would also help in disseminating authentic information to the public in regards to the performance of the government and its unwavering commitment and adherence to transparency. Besides, he added, it would afford an  opportunity to the government to further strengthen the  process of transparency in  light of the observations of the  appraisers, by removing infirmities pointed out by them.

When the PML (N) formed government consequent upon winning the franchise of the people, he said the country was confronted with formidable challenges.