In its last meeting, cabinet okays steps to boost economy
14 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet in its last meeting on Wednesday took a number of decisions aimed at boosting economy.
With only three days in power, the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, approved the Investment Policy 2013 and Foreign Direct Investment Strategy 2013-17.
The investment policy focuses on reducing the cost and processes of doing business in Pakistan. It advocates liberalisation of economy with stress on facilitation of investors, protection of investment, removal of regulatory impediments, promotion of public-private partnership and coordination among stakeholders.
The cabinet approved a proposal to start negotiations for import of LNG from Qatar on government-to-government arrangement. The meeting also put its stamp on decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee meetings held on March 6 and 8, 2013.
The cabinet approved an MoU on cooperation between Pakistan's Economic Affairs Division and Department of Health, South Africa. It allowed initiation of negotiations on MoU on the establishment of a bilateral consultation mechanism with Lithuania. It also approved signing of an MoU between Board of Investment of Pakistan and the Kuwait Investment Authority. It accorded approval to signing an MoU between Board of Investment of Pakistan and the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment of Egypt.
In another important development, the cabinet approved amendment in Section 82 of the PPC, raising minimum age for criminal responsibility from 7 years to 12 years. This excludes children involved in terrorist activities. The cabinet approved 'The (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, 2013' after incorporating this amendment for its introduction in the parliament.
The cabinet expressed grief over the unfortunate incident of assault on Christian community in Lahore. Prime Minister raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that Christians enjoy equal rights in the country and they must be provided complete protection. He said government will not let anybody take law into hands. He said loss of properties will be made good jointly by federal and provincial governments. He assured that the culprits responsible for this inhuman act will be brought to justice. The cabinet expressed its solidarity with Christians and all minorities as a mark of respect towards them.
The prime minister told the cabinet that free, fair and transparent elections are essential for democracy, security and development of the country. "Only the elected representatives can set appropriate direction for the country that is economically sustainable, socially and politically acceptable."
The prime minister said the democratic government was nearing completion of its tenure in three days. He termed it an important milestone in the history of the country.
On energy situation, the prime minister said the government had been working on multiple fronts to ensure energy security in the country. He said the government had formally kicked off the long-awaited $ 7.5 billion Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. The project would not only boost economies of both the countries but also bring prosperity to the entire region, he said.
The cabinet appreciated the role of provincial governments, civil servants, armed forces and the security agencies for cooperation in serving the country and its people in last five years.
The prime minister expressed confidence that the major steps taken by the government in national interest would draw the contours for future history and 'will provide us another chance to serve this country and its people more effectively'.