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Civil-military leadership approves steps to counter corruption, power theft, smuggling

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In a bid to revive national economy, the civil-military leadership reviewed measures to counter elements involving in impacting financial growth through corruption, smuggling, power theft or running criminal mafias in the country.

The decisions were taken in a high-level meeting — with an agenda of “measures against spectrum of illegal activities and criminal mafias” — chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday attended by civil-military leadership in which measures against unlawful activities were discussed.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, federal cabinet members, chief ministers, and high-level government officials attended the crucial meeting.

The participants were briefed in detail on steps taken against the criminal mafias, smuggling, hoarding, money laundering, power theft and repatriation of illegal foreigners etc.

They also acknowledged the importance of such actions and their positive impact on the economy and well being of the people of Pakistan.

The meeting showed firm resolve to take action against smugglers, hoarders and market manipulators, who have impacted the economic trajectory and to provide immediate relief to common citizens.

The session gave approval of agreements among federal and provincial governments on anti-power theft policy, restructuring of power distribution companies (Discos) on modern lines, installation of smart meters for full eradication of power theft and ordered strict action against the corrupt officers.

COAS Munir assured unwavering resolve of Pakistan Army to support government’s initiatives aimed at economic recovery of the country.

At the end, the prime minister directed all the stakeholders to vigorously pursue various initiatives against spectrum of illegal activities and criminal mafias to ensure their accomplishment within stipulated timeframe.

The federal government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) along with coalition partners — after coming into power has been adopting special measures to fill gaps draining public resources and impacting the national economy besides eyeing final tranche of loan worth $1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The lender sought assurances from the government on various issues such as improving tax collection mechanism, reducing circular debt on power sector, and hiking electricity and gas tariffs.

Earlier in the week, Premier Shehbaz Sharif had shared the government’s plans to go for another programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as it reaches a staff level agreement with the final instalment to be received next month.

The prime minister also announced restructuring the country’s tax collection system, as well as digitising the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The cash-strapped nation’s standby $3 billion arrangement with the global lender expires on April 11, and the two sides reached a staff-level agreement regarding the disbursal of the final tranche of $1.1 billion earlier this month.

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