Senate concerned over delay in power devolution to provinces


Senate body for increased public-private collaboration in defence production
Islamabad—The Senate’s Functional Committee on Devolution Thursday expressed concern over delay in devolution of powers to the provinces by the ministries of Petroleum, Finance and Privatization under 18th Constitutional Amendment.
Chairing a meeting of the committee here at Parliament House, Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed observed that some elements were deliberately delaying the devolution process. The work in that regard had been done only on paper as practically nothing had been done by the ministries to devolve powers to the provinces, he added.
Secretary Petroleum Arshad Mirza informed the body that the federal government was fully committed to the devolution of powers to the provinces.
He said a meeting had been held with the Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding the federal excise duty on petroleum products. Meetings were also underway with the provincial governments, he added.
Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production Thursday underlined the need for further promoting collaboration between public and private sector departments manufacturing defence products of international standard.
“We will have to focus on research in the field of defence production to get more better results,” the committee meeting, chaired by Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum, stressed.
The body was briefed on preparations of IDEAS-2016, a Defence exhibition scheduled to be held from November 22 to 25 at the Karachi Expo Centre, by the management of Defence Exports Promotion Organization (DEPO) here. General Qayyum highlighted the importance of commercialization for maximum utilization of capabilities of defence production departments of the country.
Appreciating professionalism and capabilities of the country’s defence departments, he said Pakistan was proud of its defence production units. “Defence production departments of Pakistan are free of corruption and these are Islands of excellence,” he remarked, adding that the DEPO exhibited great performance during last 16 years.
Nowadays, General Qayyum said, manufacturing and sale of defence production had become a profitable business in the world, so there was a need to adopt modern technologies keeping in view the requirements of contemporary world. Presently, he said, America, Russia, China, Japan and Germany were among top five leading countries in the sale of defence items.
He said when Pakistan came into being, it was relying upon the British Royal Ordnance Factories, but now it was self-reliant in the field of defence production. “The credit goes to Armed Forces engineers and scientists,” he said. With the increased defence production capabilities, the chairman said, there was a significant decline in defence expenditures as majority products were being developed indigenously.
The country, General Qayyum said, was producing fighter jets, armoured vehicles, tanks, arms and ammunition of international standard, which were being admired at all levels. He said China had played a key role in the development of Pakistan’s defence industry. He said Pakistan’s military power was aimed at safeguarding national defence and sovereignty. The chairman said arms race in the South Asian region depended on the resolution of longstanding Kashmir issue and change in the aggressive attitude of India.
During the briefing, Brigadier Waheed Mumtaz informed the body about preparations being finalized for the IDEAS-2016, for which invitations had been extended to around 342 delegations of more than 35 countries.
Defence production departments including Heavy Industries Taxila, Pakistan Ordnance Factory, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, GIDS, NRTC, PMTF, PSM, IOP, MVRDE, ARDE, Strategic Export Control Div, National Systems, Metasco Intl, Panaforce, Fast Cable, Afridi Arms, CARE, SARG, Daud Sons, East West Infiniti, Askari Shoes (AWT), Pak Business Aviation, Soft Innovative Systems, Akhtar Industries and Shibli Electronics would put their products on display at the Expo.—APP