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Cabinet declines to take tourism from provinces

Cabinet declines to take tourism from provinces

ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCOR) on Friday decided against taking back the tourism department from provinces while also turning down a request of the Ministry of Food to hand over the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee to it.

The decisions again reinforce the 18th Amendment in the Constitution, which redefined the relationship between the centre and its four federating units and distribution of work among federal institutions.

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Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the CCOR here at the Prime Minister’s Office.

During the meeting, the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) raised the issue of taking back the subject of tourism from the provinces. However, Dar refused to entertain the request and said that there was no need to reopen an already settled issue.

After the 18th Amendment in the Constitution, the federal government had issued a notification in 2011 to give effect to the decision of handing over the tourism subject to the provinces.

However, the meeting had been called to review the possibility to restructure the PTDC after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had desired that the PTDC should remain with the federal government. The PM made his mind during a visit to one of the tourist resorts, said the officials.

In March 2014, the Secretary to Prime Minister had chaired a meeting to fulfill the Premier’s desire and it was agreed that there was enough legal space to make sure that the PTDC remains a federal entity even after transfer of tourism subject to the provinces.

The PTDC was incorporated under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 as a Public Corporation Limited. The principal objective of the corporation is to promote and develop tourism in Pakistan.

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However, an official handout issued by the Finance Ministry on Friday did not shed any light on the subjects discussed during the meeting. The handout was vague and general in nature. “The CCOR reviewed the implementation status of the earlier decisions and recommendations on restructuring,” stated the handout.

Different proposals for the restructuring of ministries’ departments were discussed, including proposals pertaining to Ministry of Textile Industry and Ministry for National Food Security and Research, said the Finance Ministry. It added as the next step, the recommendations of the CCOR will be submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration.

Cotton Committee

The CCOR turned down a request of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research that it may be handed over the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) department. The PCCC is currently under the control of Ministry of Textile and is operating eight cotton research institutes.

However, the Ministry of Textile opposed the Food Ministry’s proposal and pleaded that the country’s textile exports were directly dependent on availability of the cotton crop and the subject should remain with it.

The Ministry of National Food Security has already prepared the summary for taking back control of the cotton department from the Ministry of Textile Industry.

The Textile Ministry argued that since 90% of cotton was consumed by the domestic textile industry, the cotton department should not be handed over to the food security ministry. It has held weather conditions responsible for the decline in cotton output in the country.

Dar emphasised that effective restructuring of government organisations, including ministries, can play a major role in facilitating smooth and efficient functioning. He said that proper allocation of government business to the appropriate organisations and institutions is vital to ensuring good governance and improved service delivery to the people of Pakistan.

Courtesy : Express Tribune

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