PM vows to put economy back on track

Calls for improved inter-provincial coordination, Forms 25-member body to promote tourism in country

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday stressed the need to highlight steps so far taken by the PTI government for betterment of masses and to put economy in shambles back on track.

Chairing a meeting, the premier also called for improved inter-provincial coordination as well as cooperation between the federation and provinces to address problems of common man through effective strategy and coordinated policies. He said that as government was completing its six months in power and entering the second phase, there was a need to have better coordination between the federal and provincial governments.

In the meeting which was attended by the top government leadership from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, KP Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mehmood Khan and provincial ministers, the PM said that the masses should be aware of the facts about what kind of Pakistan and the situation had been left by those who were making tall claims of development and speed.

He said he was fully cognizant of the hardships being faced by people due to devaluation of rupee.

However, the government was continuously striving to improve country’s economic conditions, he added. Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar briefed the participants about the future priorities of the government.

He told the meeting that establishment of a regional equalisation development fund was being considered for development of backward areas.

The meeting was also briefed by the federal and provincial ministers of Punjab and KP about the measures taken so far in health, education, agriculture and other sectors.

The prime minister was told that recommendations for establishment of seven industrial zones in Punjab had been sent to the Board of Investment.

Minister for Finance Asad Umar told the meeting that the Board of Investment had been directed to formulate a special economic zones framework for tourism within the next 30 days.

The meeting was told that the process of giving Sehat Insaf Card in Punjab would start from February 20 and in the first phase the people of Rajanpur, DG Khan, Muzaffargarh and Multan would be given Sehat Insaf Card.

The premier directed to give special importance to agriculture sector with focus on its promotion.

He directed to ensure provision of health facilities to people across the country with special focus on quality of cleanliness in hospitals, adding, the hospital administrations should be given clear instructions that there would be no compromise on cleanliness.

The prime minister also directed the ministers to visit hospitals on regular basis. The minister for planning told the meeting that Rashakai Economic Zone would be operational very soon.

For better coordination in the areas of finance, agriculture, health and education, the working groups of ministers were also constituted in the meeting.

Separately, the government on Monday approved formation of a 25-member National Tourism Coordination Board for promotion of tourism in the country.

The decision, taken during the meeting of Tourism Task Force chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was aimed at promoting tourism, enhancing coordination between federation and provinces, formulating provincial regulatory framework, and highlighting other objectives including the promotion of country’s tourism at international level.

The 25-member National Tourism Coordination Board would comprise representatives from federal ministries, provincial departments and people from private sector tourism industry.

With a decision for reorganisation of PTDC, it was also decided to transfer Rs200 billion properties of PTDC to the provinces. PTDC would serve as the Secretariat of National Tourism Coordination Board.

The meeting also decided to constitute special working groups on religious tourism; adventure tourism; cultural, historic and archeological tourism; trans-himaliya jeep rally group; infrastructure and facilitation; regulatory and policy reforms; and investment and tourism branding.

The Prime Minister was briefed about the progress on creation of 20 new tourism sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and making Bala Hissar Fort in Peshawar as a tourism site.

The prime minister said that Bala Hissar Fort should be converted into a centre of tourist activities.

He said that arrangement for the commercial use of 800 and 157 rest houses in Punjab and KP, respectively, should be finalised, adding, eco tourism should be given special focus.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan also chaired a meeting which discussed further strengthening of bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the arrangements made in view of highlevel visit from Saudi Arabia.

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