Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gilani to unveil 100-day relief, reform package on 29th

By Mubarak Zeb Khan
(Courtesy DAWN)

ISLAMABAD, March 26: The new coalition government is expected to announce on March 29 a 100-day reforms package to offset the effects of unprecedented price hike and high cost of energy and to ensure macro-economic stability, Dawn has learnt. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani will announce the plan after taking a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on the day.
A committee is working out details of the package for reforms in various sectors, including steps to bring down prices of essential kitchen items.
A PPP leader told Dawn that various proposals were under consideration. He said the package was expected to be finalised soon. PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, however, said he had no knowledge of such a package. But another PML-N leader Khwaja Asif confirmed that the plan was on the anvil. He refused to give details, but said it would be announced by the prime minister.“The prime minister will announce the package and I am not supposed to divulge any information,” he stressed.
Informed sources in the two parties said the committee was working on a sector-wise basis to identify areas for reforms to be introduced in the first 100 days. The plan envisaged a small cabinet to reduce expenditures.
The sources said that for consumers, severely hit by the monster of food inflation and energy crisis, there would be relief in prices of essential goods. The plan would also focus on ensuring macro-economic stability.
The sources said the committee would also propose short-term measures for ensuring stability in the country and coping with problems like suicide bombings and unrest in tribal areas and Swat.
The committee is also considering measures for good governance. These will include the smooth functioning of various ministries, improvement in local bodies’ system and general administration. The sources said that efforts would also be made to reduce expenditures of various ministries, particularly the Prime Minister Secretariat.
The sources said that more than 500 new utility stores would be set up across the country to provide subsidised wheat, cooking oil, tea and sugar to the poor segment of society.

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