ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday was informed that the government has increased import duties to cut imports.
Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood further told the House during question hour that an import substitution policy has also been launched in order to increase domestic production and exports.
He said that duties on raw material will be reduced in order to support and strengthen the manufacturing sector.
Stating that oil import substitution is a long-term policy, Dawood said that the country’s refining capacity has reduced over the years, due to which value-added petroleum products are also being imported. However, he said that the situation could change once the refining capacity is improved.
Matters relating to climate change and accountability were also brought under discussion.
Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul told the House that the government has embarked on a plan to replicate the successful model of the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ project all over Pakistan.
She said that the government has a target of planting ten billion saplings in its campaign and each province has been asked to prepare a PC-1 in order to set the targets and records of planting the trees for this purpose.
“Juniper trees in Balochistan are a great asset for the province so, more of these trees will be planted there under the Green Pakistan programme,” she further informed the Senate.
Responding to a call to attention notice, the minister said that the government is taking comprehensive steps to tackle the issue of smog. She said that Karachi, Faisalabad, Lahore and a few other major cities have a very high rate of air pollution, therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is assessing the rate of pollution in these cities and taking measures to overcome the problem.
Speaking further on the issue of environmental pollution, Zartaj Gul said that traditional brick kilns are being shut down as they use rubber tyres and other such material to burn the fire. The focus will be on setting up new brick kilns that are environment-friendly and emit less smoke.
Two reports, including the report by Standing Committee on Petroleum regarding its performance from May to October 2018 and the report by Standing Committee on Climate Change on a point of public importance regarding Juniper forest issues at Ziarat, were laid in the House.
Moreover, speaking on a point of order, Senator Raza Rabbani said that accountability should be across the board and not one-sided.
He suggested accountability for all by setting up a Federal Accountability Commission (FAC), in which all stakeholders including politicians, bureaucrats and judiciary are made members.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, while stressing on the government’s regard for the sanctity of the House, said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan is very clear that he will not tolerate any corrupt person in his cabinet.
The House passed the Elections Amendment Bill, 2018 with consensus. The bill which was moved by Senator Azam Swati on behalf of Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan further amends the Election Act, 2017.