Premier orders restoration of previous roti, naan prices

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet decided to bring down prices of naan and roti to their previous rates throughout the country.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a stern notice of increasing prices of naan and roti and decided to take immediate steps to revert them to their original rates,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

She said besides the cabinet meeting the prime minister also presided over a meeting on gas tariff and rates of naan and roti. She said the prime minister also called a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday (today) aimed at reducing the gas tariff, especially for Tandoorwalas, and cutting the price of Atta (wheat flour) and duties on it.

At present naan is selling at Rs12 to Rs15 in different cities of the country. However, before an increase in the gas tariff and rates of wheat flour, naan price ranged between Rs8 and Rs10. Similarly, roti is available at Rs10 to Rs12 while its previous rate was Rs7 to Rs8.

In a separate decision, the cabinet approved bifurcation of the services and operations wings of the Civil Aviation Authority to provide better facilities to the people, especially foreign tourists. “Special counters will be established at all airports of the country to facilitate foreign and local tourists and other passengers,” she added.

Performance of ministries

Dr Awan said Prime Minister Khan had also directed all the ministers to present their ministries’ performance report on a monthly basis before the cabinet.

In order to improve governance and service delivery of certain divisions/ministries, the Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit (PMDU) after detailed deliberations has devised a composite tasking document containing proposed interventions; with timelines, in the shape of targeted institutional interventions. By implementing these interventions, it is hoped that the federal ministries/divisions and their attached departments will be able to improve service delivery across their domains.

Specialised tasks will be given to the ministries which have to be achieved on the basis of time-based deliverables (three to six months). The ministries will be at liberty to incorporate their own in-house initiatives, which they can complete within three to six months and share those with the PMDU within one week.

The tasking document has been sent to the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, planning, power, petroleum, aviation, IT & telecom, federal education and professional training, national health services & coordination and overseas Pakistanis & human resource development.

President’s demand

The meeting rejected a demand of President Dr Arif Alvi who sought allocation of budget for “entertainment and gifts” and decided that he will be provided a special grant on a case to case basis. “President Alvi has to meet heads of states and under diplomatic norms he has to present gifts to the state guests on a reciprocal basis. However, the prime minister rejected the demand and said the president will get special funds on a case to case basis,” she added.

The meeting approved giving status of an authority to the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation. Now it will be called Federal Government Employees Housing Authority. The sole purpose of turning the foundation into an authority is removal of hurdles in acquisition of land.

The basic mandate of the authority is to provide shelter to the federal government employees. It has a target of building and carving out 250,000 housing units/plots mainly for those who had already applied and had been registered with the foundation.

The authority is not only reviving its stalled housing projects in the federal capital but also signed memorandums of understanding with the governments of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Capital Development Authority.

Condition of jails

Dr Awan said the prime minister had directed all provincial authorities and inspectors general of jails to improve condition of jails and facilitate prisoners held in petty crimes to obtain services of lawyers and come out of jails.

The cabinet also directed the authorities concerned to complete poverty survey this year which is underway.

In reply to a question, the special assistant said Irfan Siddiqui, adviser to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was not arrested but released on the orders of the prime minister.

Talking about the call of agitation given by chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman, she said the Maulana was ruing withdrawal of his official accommodation in the Ministers’ Enclave he was enjoying for last 15 years. “Maulana Sahib was misguiding children of seminaries to meet his own agenda,” she added.