PM Imran directs for pro-people budget


–Govt working to reduce drug prices, cabinet told

–PM’s special assistant says new LNG agreements will be more transparent

–Says new FTA to be signed with China to protect local industry

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed his cabinet members to introduce policies in the public interest and improve their performance in order to resolve the issues faced by the people.
Briefing media persons about the decisions of the federal cabinet meeting, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the prime minister had already assigned targets to his economic team led by Adviser on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh in order to create a people-friendly budget.
She said that it was stressed in the meeting that the ministers should ensure their presence during sessions of the National Assembly (NA) and Senate, and focus on the resolution of people’s problems.
The prime minister, she said, “believes that democracy means serving the masses, empowering them and resolving their problems”.
Firdous said in the past democracy was weakened by corruption and certain individuals became stronger. The prime minister, however, had a clear vision of keeping national interest supreme at all costs, she added.

She also said that the federal cabinet was informed that prices of drugs will be brought down after consultation with all stakeholders.

Firdous said that PM’s Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafarullah Mirza briefed the cabinet on his findings regarding the increase in prices of drugs and said that a meeting with pharma companies and other stakeholders will be held soon to bring down the prices of medicines, so that people can afford their treatment.

The additional amount charged by these companies will be recovered by the government and submitted in Pakistan Baitul Maal. This amount will be used to provide free treatment to poor patients of various diseases, she claimed.

The special assistant to the prime minister said that the cabinet was also briefed on inflation and rising prices of essential items. The cabinet decided to check on prices of essential items during the holy month of Ramzan and keep an eye on hoarders and cartels, she added.

She said that inflation during the last eight months of this government is still less compared with the same period of the previous two governments.

Firdous said that the prime minister directed all ministers to introduce policies in public interest and improve their performance in order to resolve the issues faced by the public.

She said that the prime minister has already assigned targets to his economic team in order to create a people friendly budget.

The special assistant also said that the cabinet also discussed the LNG agreements signed by the previous government which were expensive and not in the interest of Pakistan. She said that the new LNG agreements will be transparent and based on competitive pricing.

The cabinet endorsed the policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his vision of democracy that is free from corruption and functions only to empower the common man and reduces their issues.

Referring to the prime minister’s upcoming visit to China, Firdous said that a better Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be signed with China in order to protect our local industry.

She said that the previous agreement signed did not cater to the interests of the local industry. However, due to successful diplomacy of the prime minister, China has agreed to sign an FTA on the pattern of one that is with ASEAN countries and is on much better terms, she added.

She said that Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood apprised the cabinet that 450 Pakistani businessmen will visit China to look for business opportunities that would translate into more production, job opportunities and poverty reduction in the country.

The special assistant said that the cabinet members congratulated the prime minister on his successful visit to Iran which was extremely important in the present context.

She said that Pakistan has to increase its trade with immediate neighbours to reap the bilateral benefits. She said that the visit also proved successful in removing the misunderstandings between the two brotherly countries.