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Friday, 16 August, 2013
ppra refuses to favour govt in lnG contract rules ecc informed that PPra wants to ensure transParency in Public sector bidding Process ISLAMABAD TAyyAB HuSSAIN
HE Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) government on Thursday suffered a major setback as it could not get the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules relaxed for awarding contracts for installation of terminals for LNG. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet was informed
about the refusal at a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair on Thursday. The ECC rejected a proposal made by Gilgit-Baltistan government stating that foreign funded projects, 26MW Shagharthang-Skardu and 4MW ThackChilas might be exempted from the condition of re-lending and repayment and that instead the government may pick up loans for these projects. The meeting was attended by Minister for Industries and Production Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information
Technology Anusha Rahman and heads of various divisions and departments. A source, who attended the meeting, told Pakistan Today that the attendees were informed about the PPRA’s refusal to exempt rules to ensure “transparency” in the public sector bidding process. On July 18, the ECC meeting had formed a sub-committee comprising federal secretaries for ministries of Finance, and Petroleum and Natural Resources to assess whether or not the government could get the PPRA rules exempted for construction of LNG terminals. The ministry also sought approval from ECC for issuance of tenders by Inter-State Gas Company (ISGC) for the construction of LNG terminals. However, the PPRA administration told the sub-committee that it was not possible to give any exemption, the source added.
“A report was submitted with the ECC stating that the tendering process for Fast Track Engro Project and SSGC LPG Retrofit Project will now be carried out per the PPRA rules 2004 to ensure transparency without seeking any exemptions for PPRA rules,” the source added. The meeting also directed the Ministry of Civil Aviation to put up a comprehensive summary with a plan to reduce the current loss of Rs 3.3 billion per anum being incurred by the PIA. The meeting was informed that oil reserves in the country were comfortably placed for 36 days as compared to 23 days in the corresponding period last year. The improvement has been brought about as a result of the government’s decision of clearing circular debt which has provided liquidity to Pakistan State Oil to open letters of credit for import of crude oil.
let may attack from sea, uS tells india
Polio down by 40pc in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan
NEW DELHI INP
The United States has alerted New Delhi to a possible Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) attack from the sea on India’s coastal cities, including Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Indian counterterrorism apparatus has taken the threat seriously and the Indian Navy, Coastguard and state police, along the 7,517 kilometre coastline, have been alerted to a possible Let attack akin to 26/11 attack in Mumbai, reports in Indian media said. Incidentally, the alert for a possible Pakistani terrorist attack from sea was sent by the CIA days before the 26/11 attacks. Top government sources said US intelligence agencies had alerted them to a possible strike from Hafiz Saeed’s group either from the sea or in the mainland cities, with terrorists crossing over from Bangladesh. “The state police of coastal states have been alerted at the highest level to the threat. We don’t want a repeat of 26/11,” said a senior official. The official said inputs indicate that the naval wing of the LeT, headed by Yuqub, with top commanders like Muzammil and Abu Hamza, were planning new targets in India. “Fresh troopers have been added. The Lashkar leadership with Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Sajiid Mir aka Wasi bhai and Syed Abdur Rehman Hashim aka Pasha is intact and focused on attacking India,” said a senior official.
at least 750,000 children are still inaccessible to vaccinators in remaining Polio-infected areas NEWS DESK
QUETTA: A man sits at the site of a protest camp set up by families of the missing Baloch persons on Thursday. The camp was set on fire by unidentified men on Wednesday night. NNI
Diverse LG systems set to be installed in provinces LAHORE NAdEEm SyEd
Punjab and Sindh provinces are all set to adopt new local bodies systems with hopes that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments will follow suit sooner than later per Supreme Court instructions. But the real catch in the emerging situation is that the country would end up embracing a ragtag local government system with all provinces going for different set ups dictated by vested interests and political expediencies, without showing any concern for the people who stand to benefit if powers are genuinely devolved to grass-root level. The ECP earlier advised provinces to come up with a uniform system to avoid any confusion and achieve the ultimate results of a vibrant local body system. But it was easier said than done. Here the onus of achieving some common ground rests with
There was however, concern shown over the rising trend of prices of crude oil in the international market. The ECC also deliberated in detail about the recent pressure on prices of essential commodities. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the provincial governments might be asked to keep a check on essential food items so that hoarders and speculators would not make undue profits. The meeting was informed that the Karachi Stock Exchange index had reached 23,437 points, showing 17.7 percent increase since May 11. It was also informed that the Business Confidence Index which was -34 percent last year has now turned positive to 2.0 points which was a clear testimony of the confidence of markets on the economic policies being pursued by the government.
the federal government. The ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination had a big role to play but Federal Minister Riaz Pirzaida is nowhere to be seen, let alone emerging as a focal person for coordinating between the provinces. The ministry could have engaged the provinces on the kind of system the country needed right now. Ideally, the federal government should have distributed among the provinces a model of LG system with a request to follow it without stepping on the toes of the provinces. Or at least it could share some basic guidelines with the provinces, suggesting a common system above political expediencies. But the federal government lost the initiative when it could have done a lot. In the Punjab, the PML-N government is all-out for non-party elections, while Sindh chooses to hold party-based elections. Other provinces are following a wait and see policy.
The federal government could lead from front in efforts to evolve consensus among provinces on two broad issues concerning the LG system. It could engage the provinces to decide unanimously whether to hold party or non-party election. All opposition parties in Punjab were not ready to accept polls under nonparty system. It seems the PPP, PTI and PML-Q are getting their acts together against the bill that the Punjab government is set to adopt. There basic objection is towards the mode of elections. It is expected that the Punjab Assembly will adopt the bill in a day or two whether liked by the opposition or not. Second, the federal government could have sought the opinion of provinces on what kind system suited the country given the myriad of challenges, especially the challenge of good governance. In Punjab, opposition parties have outright rejected the government-sponsored draft bill. They
believe that the new law would introduce a local government system quite meaningless with local representatives having no power whatsoever. They foresee real power being shifted to executives to be wielded by chief minister and legislatures through district and provincial bureaucracy. The new law does not devolve financial and administrative powers to local councils. Even the system of Provincial Award Commission mandated to finalise a formula for the distribution of funds among districts have been done away with in the new system. Again, Zila Council chairman or municipal corporation could be removed by the chief minister on a mere complaint and without any noconfidence move. The power of the chief minister to remove a local body head is too much for the opposition parties to digest. Hence, protest is very much on the cards.
Published by Arif Nizami at Plot # 7, Al-Baber Centre, F/8 Markaz, Islamabad.
When the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, the poliovirus was circulating in 125 countries, paralysing or killing 1,000 people a day. Today polio cases have been reduced by 99 percent with only 223 cases reported worldwide in 2012. Only three countries have never stopped the transmission of the wild poliovirus – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The polio plus programme was incepted in 1985 and more than two billion children have received oral polio vaccine but that is not all, there are new grounds to cover. To this end, The Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee under Rotary International recently organised a programme to discuss the challenges with eradicating polio, Rotary intervention among many others. Poliovirus should not be ignored because a slight chance of lackadaisical attention can expand its spread. For instance, last month, it found its way into the horn of Africa and almost half a million children were not vaccinated in the last four years because mass immunisation crusades were halted in south/central Somalia. Somalia is not taking chances even as various methods are being initiated to help halt the spread. For instance, Somalia has been through the first couple of mass polio immunisation and it saw the participation of President Mogadishu in the immunisation process. The Independent Monitoring Board has observed though that at least 750,000 children are still inaccessible to vaccinators in the remaining polio-infected areas of the world. In 1988, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative or GPEI was formed and its main aim was the eradication of polio. According to Abdulrahman Tunji Funso, chairman, Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee (NNPC), “In setting out to eradicate polio, you are faced with three types of poliovirus that were paralysing children in over 125 countries. Many Rotarians are aware that one of those viruses, the type 2 wild poliovirus, paralysed its last victim in India in 1999. Most Rotarians are not aware, however, that for the first time in history we have not seen the type 3 poliovirus anywhere in the world for more than six months. This not only gets us close to eradication, but it opens the door to using even more effective polio vaccine formulations to finish the job. “As of today, the number of polio cases in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan is down 40 percent compared to the same time in 2012. The number of polio ‘reservoirs’ in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan today is down 50 percent compared to the same time in 2012. The number of surviving polioviruses in the world is at its lowest in history. As the Polio Independent Monitoring Board said in its most recent report in June, ‘Poliovirus has been knocked down but it is certainly not knocked out’.” In the GPEI, Rotary works in concert with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. They also work with the governments of the world, both in the polio affected and donor countries, and with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among other partners who have joined this successful global effort. A major challenge with polio eradication is finance. For Nike Koshini, an executive with Rotary, “about 98 percent of contribution towards the eradication of polo comes from abroad. It is time for Nigerians to begin to look inwards and contribute immensely to help fight polio. There are countries that haven’t experienced it in years; if we put our hearts to it, it can work.”