Thursday, November 19, 2009

Approval of equal treatment to both fixed line and cellular operators

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ISLAMABAD (November 19 2009): To provide level playing field to private sector in the telecom sector, the Federal Cabinet has accorded approval for equal treatment to both fixed line and cellular operators.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, directed the Ministry of Information Technology to submit a proposal to the Prime Minister for the decision regarding funds utilisation.

The cell companies, like fixed line operators, will now contribute after the Cabinet approval 0.5 of their gross revenue for research and development fund. The Cabinet directed the Ministry of Women Development to ensure that its actions for women's welfare and empowerment are pursued on fast track basis.

The ministry gave a presentation to the Cabinet on its activities and plans, and highlighted the broad range of achievements under the democratic government, development projects for women's empowerment, fiscal and legal reforms, as well as policies and future plans.

The Cabinet was informed that the primary objective of the ministry is to bring about improvement and change in the lives of women population of Pakistan through gender mainstreaming, good governance and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and to reduce the vulnerabilities of women by changing the mindset of the society through advocacy, awareness, education and gender balanced policies and programmes.

The meeting was informed that from January 21 to October 20, 2009, the Cabinet held 20 meetings in which 167 decisions were made, out of which 130 had so far been implemented, while 37 were under-implementation. The Prime Minister directed all the committees and the ministries to ensure implementation of all the decisions of the Cabinet and submit their reports at the earliest.

It was observed that all the ministries and organisations of the government were engaged in developmental and welfare activities, which were not reported and disseminated to the general public - the target beneficiary. The Cabinet, therefore, decided that public outreach exercise must be carried out to share the government activities and initiatives with the general public through press and media.

The Cabinet also took notice of the complaints regarding paddy procurement, and decided to constitute a high level committee, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, to review the implementation status. In the meantime, the Prime Minister directed all concerned to ensure compliance of the previous Cabinet decision regarding paddy procurement.

The Cabinet granted ex-post facto approval of various memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed by Pakistan with China for water resource management, implementation of Kohala hydropower project and technical co-operation. While granting ex-post facto approval to the signing of MoU with the government of the UAE on child camel jockeys, including facilitation in location of child jockeys and Abu Dhabi declaration, the Prime Minister constituted a committee to look into the matters concerning compensation to the affectees.

The committee will include Ministers for Overseas Pakistanis, Interior, Law and Justice, Human Rights as well as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector. The Cabinet approved initiation of negotiations for memorandum of co-operation between Corporation for Export Development and Promotion (KAZANEX) JSC and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

The memorandum is aimed at establishing a mechanism to improve competitiveness of the businesses and provide a platform for the companies of Pakistan and Kazakhstan to develop close trade relations and to increase the volume of bilateral trade, investment and technology transfer.

The Cabinet also ratified the decisions of the ECC meetings held on October 27, 2009 as well as the trade agreement between Pakistan and Yemen. It also granted approval for initiating negotiations on the draft agreement on promotion and protection of investment with Zimbabwe and for defence co-operation with Australia.

The Cabinet accorded approval to start negotiations for new bilateral investment treaty between Pakistan and Germany. It may be recalled that the first bilateral investment treaty was signed between Pakistan and Germany after Second World War on November 25, 1959, which needs to be redrafted to take into account the current requirements and environment.

The Cabinet granted permission to start negotiations with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon and Sultanate of Oman for entering into agreements on co-operation in the field of vocational training. The agreements aim at co-operating and exchanging expertise, legislation, studies, training programmes, etc, which will help train and upgrade vocational trainers and young people to integrate effectively in the labour market.

The Cabinet constituted a committee to further look into the details of the draft legislation, called "Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bill 2009" and to resubmit it to the Cabinet for approval. The members of the committee included the Ministers for Industries and Production, Law and Justice as well as Finance.

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