Incumbent regime dreams about handling “water scarcity”

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday – March 28, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Prime minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired 36th meeting of the council of common interests (CCI) on Tuesday, despite that the incumbent regime is about to complete its democratic tenure, it was merely emphasised that Pakistan is rapidly becoming a water-scarce country and that obligations towards sustainable development goals (SDG) require adoption of integrated water resource management (IWRM).

According to an official statement, planning commission (PC) deputy chairman Sartaj Aziz briefed the meeting in detail about the ‘draft’ national water policy (NWP).

Population growth and water demands for various sectors of the economy necessitate urgent measures to enhance storage capacity. CCI was briefed that the draft NWP includes strategic initiatives and is in line with national climate change policy 2012.

It was informed that the draft NWP includes establishment of administrative bodies at the federal and provincial levels, including national water council, provincial water authorities to improve coordination regarding water resource management.

There was a consensus amongst the participants on the need to adopt the NWP. It was decided that the proposed policy will be brought in the next CCI meeting after incorporating suggestions from provinces for its final approval.

Statistics division secretary presented an update on CCI’s earlier decision of carrying out a validation exercise of census results 2017. The meeting reiterated that five percent validation exercise shall be undertaken through a third party as per the decision taken in CCI’s meeting held on November 24, 2017.

Finance secretary gave a detailed briefing on various subsidies being given by the federal government on different commodities including subsidy being provided to Pakistan agricultural storage and services corporation (PASSCO) for maintaining strategic wheat reserves, subsidy on essential items through utility stores corporation (USC), Ramadan relief package and support for export of wheat and sugar.

Pakistan alliance for mathematics and science also gave a presentation on way forward for promoting science and mathematics education in the country.

Sindh chief minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) CM Pervez Khattak, Balochistan CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo attended the meeting. Punjab was represented by finance minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha. Chief secretaries of all provinces and federal secretaries besides senior officials from federal and provincial governments were also present.