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Consensus strategy being evolved to address challenges: PM Nawaz

11 September, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said the country was passing through difficult times and a consensus strategy was being evolved to sort out all issues confronting the nation.

Chairing a special meeting of the federal cabinet at the Prime Minister's Office, he said economic development was the key to progress and development, but terrorism and extremism were badly hampering the economic turnaround in the country. According to a press release, Nawaz Sharif said that during his previous tenures as the country's prime minister, his government followed the policy of free market economy, which led to faster economic growth at that time.

"We have again started with the same policy with enlarged vision and increased vigour," the prime minister said. The cabinet discussed good management practices to be adopted by the government sector to make it more effective, efficient and accountable. The prime minister expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), saying that it was incurring Rs 3.3 billion monthly losses due to its inefficiency, corruption and malpractices. "At present we are only dealing with day-to-day crisis at PIA. Taxpayers' hard-earned money is being paid to PIA to bail it out of economic crisis and sustain itself, and this situation cannot continue any more," Nawaz said.

The prime minister said this money should have been invested in power sector and development of other resources instead of sustaining the inefficient PIA. He said over-employment and low quality services had led to downfall of the national airline, which once was world's best. He directed the PIA management to give a detailed briefing on the current situation of PIA and bring about concrete proposals to reform the airline. Senator Dato' Siri Idris Jala, minister in Malaysian Prime Minister's Office and CEO of Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PMDU) of government of Malaysia, attended the cabinet meeting on special invitation of the prime minister.

He shared experiences of Malaysian Economic Programmes and Government Transformation. He informed the cabinet that Malaysia transformed its economy by devising short-term plans within the framework of its larger strategic programmes, and set timeline for achieving those plans by giving key performance indicators. He said the public and private sectors were involved, through a well-defined process, in devising these policies and making them achievable. The procedures were made simple to attract investors, both foreign and domestic, he added.

The prime minister said that the government of Pakistan was following an economic model whereby key development sectors have been identified and prioritised. Moreover, systems were being simplified. He said his government had prioritised economy, energy and was modernising infrastructure all over the country and making investment in the power sector. He said a team of experts was working on the reforms action plan and Pakistan could learn from the success stories of Malaysia and replicate the same.

The prime minister said that his government looked forward to working closely with the Malaysian government. He also recalled his association with former Malaysian prime minister Mahatir Muhammad, and said that they had extensive discussions on the economic reforms and shared experiences of each other.

He said that a high-powered delegation would soon visit Malaysia to further strengthen cooperation, particularly in the economic field between the two countries. The prime minister thanked the Malaysian delegation and extended invitation to the Malaysian prime minister to visit Pakistan.

End.

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