Efforts afoot to provide skills for vulnerable segments: Rubina

Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program Rubina Khalid says efforts are being made to create employment opportunities for vulnerable segments of society by providing them skills. Addressing a news conference in Lahore today, she said that programs are being initiated for employment opportunities. The Chairperson emphasized that payments are being made to beneficiaries without compromising their dignity. Rubina Khalid informed that previously, the BISP had an agreement with one bank, but now six banks are on its panel to facilitate payments. She said that the beneficiaries can contact on helpline number 8171 for complaints and guideline. The Chairperson said currently over 9.3 million individuals are benefiting from the program. Source: Radio Pakistan

Info Minister rejects impression of Rs500b fund disbursement among legislators

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar has dispelled the impression that 500 billion rupees are being distributed among legislators in the name of development schemes. He was addressing a news conference in Islamabad this evening. Referring to former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and ex-finance minister Miftah Ismail's claims and accusations, Attaullah Tarar said the total amount of Public Sector Development Programme is 1,500 billion rupees and made it clear that the government has no intention to give 500 billion rupees to members of the national and the provincial assemblies. He said they have quoted an extremely exaggerated figure on the basis of misinformation. The Minister further said the government is working on the agenda of introducing reforms to cut expenditure. He said department like Pakistan Public Works Department is being dissolved on the directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He said a committee on down and right sizing has also been formed under the chairm anship of Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb. Besides, the government is actively pursuing privatization of State Owned Enterprises like the Pakistan International Air Lines. He expressed the hope that privatization of PIA will be completed next month. Attaullah Tarar said Anti-Narcotics and Culture divisions are being merged into the interior and the information ministries respectively, which will significantly help save the national kitty. He also highlighted that the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet are not drawing any salary or perks to reduce government expenditure, which is a brilliant example of austerity. The Minister mentioned that digitization of the Federal Board of Revenue is underway to check loopholes and leakages in the FBR. He said the digitization process is being done by Karandaaz, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with zero liability on the government of Pakistan. Attaullah Tarar said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Miftah Ismail should have also commended these measures of t he government to save funds. Regarding tax measures, Attaullah Tarar said various measures have been taken to achieve tax target of the FBR. He, however, clarified that no tax has been imposed on solar panels, pensioners, charitable hospitals, fertilizers, pesticides and medical equipment. The Minister said real estate has been taxed to put them within tax net and bring the money circulation on record. Highlighting relief measures suggested in the budget, the Minister said minimum wages have been increased from 32,000 rupees to 37,000 rupees. He said this should also be applied on media workers. He added that media organizations have assured of is implementation. With regard to the outcome of government policies, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting said trade deficit has been reduced, foreign exchange reserves surged to over nine billion dollars, while bullish trends in the stock exchange can be witnessed on daily basis. He said all these indicators show that the budget is a step towards econom ic stability. About the demands for fresh polls from a few politicians, Attaullah Tarar said next general elections will be held as per the schedule in 2029. He said there is neither any need nor a justification for fresh elections. Source: Radio Pakistan

Ayesha Raza urges people to play role in eradicating poliovirus

Prime Minister's Focal Person on Polio Ayesha Raza Farooq has urged every segment of society to play a role in eradicating poliovirus from the country. Talking to PTV today, she said that the anti-polio campaign began in forty-nine selected districts of the country today where more than 9.5 million children under five years of age will be administered polio vaccine drops. She also urged parents to cooperate with polio teams visiting their doorsteps. She said sixteen districts in Balochistan, eleven in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sixteen in Sindh and six in Punjab are part of the campaign. Source: Radio Pakistan

PM Shehbaz terms increase in exports as govt’s top priority

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says increasing the country's exports is the government's top priority, and measures from the current federal budget are being implemented for this purpose. He was speaking to a delegation of prominent businessmen who met him in Islamabad today (Monday). The Prime Minister said the development of industry, agriculture, and information technology will further stabilize the economy and create new employment opportunities. He said the country is moving in the right economic direction and that all possible measures were taken in the budget to provide relief to the people. Shehbaz Sharif further said that the confidence of foreign investors has been restored due to the government's business-friendly policies. On the occasion, the delegation commended the Prime Minister for ensuring a conducive environment for business and investment in the country and for putting the economy on a positive trajectory. They informed the Prime Minister that the business community appreciates the bu dget and expressed hope that it will positively impact business activities in the country. Source: Radio Pakistan

SIFC playing vital role in promotion of IT, telecom sectors

Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) is playing an important role in the promotion of IT and telecom sectors in the country. Keeping in view the recommendations of SIFC, the government has issued instructions to the Ministry of IT and Telecom and PEPRA to speed up and improve the digitization of procurement and other government functions. By using the Cloud Services Procurement Framework, the government agencies will process all procurements. The process of auctioning of 5G will also be completed in the current month, for which instructions have been issued to the Law Division to actively work on the cases pending in Islamabad and Sindh High Courts pertaining to 5G. The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Affairs has approved two hundred and thirty five million rupees for Pakistan Startup Fund and two hundred and twenty nine million rupees E-Rozgar program. Source: Radio Pakistan

PM to represent Pakistan at SCO summits in Kazakhstan

Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif will undertake a two-day official visit to Kazakhstan from Wednesday for the twin Summits of SCO Council of Heads of State and SCO Plus to be held in Astana. He will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar and other senior members of the Cabinet and senior government officials. At the SCO Council of Heads of Summit Meeting, the Prime Minister will share Pakistan's perspective on important regional and global issues and underline the importance Pakistan accords to regional connectivity and cooperation with SCO member countries. The Prime Minister will also address the SCO Plus Summit that brings together SCO member States as well as invited Dialogue Partners, Observer States, Guests of the Chair and international organizations. He will share Pakistan's perspective on important regional and global issues, and underline the importance of strengthening the organization for the benefit of the peoples of the SCO region. The Prime Minister will also hold meetings with participating leaders on the sidelines of the Summit. Source: Radio Pakistan