Islamabad, 17 April 2020 – Mudasser Chudhary:
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday terming smuggling a curse for national economy said strict action was inevitable against smugglers, hoarders and profiteers to eliminate such ills from the society.
Chairing a meeting to control smuggling, crackdown on hoarders and eliminating locust attacks on crops, the prime minister said smuggling and hoarding resulted in inflation that put direct financial burden on general public and poor.
The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Planning minister Asad Umer, Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority General Muhammad Afzal and senior officials.
The prime minister emphasized the role of intelligence agencies in checking smuggling and hoarding and called for appointment of honest and dutiful officers at checkpoints.
He also stressed effective coordination among the provinces with monitoring on daily basis and directed to ensure smooth working without any administrative hurdle.
The participants were briefed about target of wheat procurement for next year and provision of ‘bardana’ (gunny bags) for farmers.
Khusro Bakhtiar told the meeting that Punjab government and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) took timely steps for wheat procurement and other provinces needed to follow the suit.
He said that last year, four million ton wheat was procured with this year’s target as 8.2 million ton, however mentioned some difficulties in this regard following the recent rains.
The Prime Minister stressed comprehensive strategy to ensure provision of wheat and flour to consumers.
The meeting discussed ongoing emergency regarding the attacks of locust swarms on crops and the steps taken so far to control including spray of pesticides through planes and other machines.
Purpose-built spray aircraft and machinery has already been imported from China, however more equipment is required which was delayed due to coronavirus lockdown, the meeting was informed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan termed locusts another big problem for the country and directed availability of funds for its elimination.