Islamabad, February 26, 2018 (PPI-OT): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired 35th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) held today in PM Office Islamabad. Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister Balochistan Mr. Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Punjab Finance Minister Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha attended the meeting. Senior officials from Federal and Provincial Governments were also present. CCI reviewed the implementation status of decisions taken during its meeting held on 24th November, 2017. Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training briefed the CCI on matters pertaining to Higher Education and other similar bodies in Post-Eighteenth Amendment Scenario.

The CCI noted that as per the Constitution, formulation of standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and technical institution is the responsibility of the Federal Government. It was agreed that both the Federal and Provincial Governments would undertake monitoring, evaluation and accreditation of such institutes. CCI also directed the Federal Ministry of Education to work on a proposal in consultation with all stakeholders for establishment of a national level testing body for unified assessment standards across the country.

To further enhance representation of provinces in Higher Education Commission (HEC), it was decided that among the seven members (prominent educationists) being appointed by the Prime Minister, representation of all the provinces will be ensured. The CCI discussed Gas and Electricity management by the Provinces including generation, transmission and distribution. The CCI deliberated upon the issue of problems being faced by the Sugarcane growers in timely payments on prescribed rates. Expressing concerns, the Prime Minister directed Ministry of National Food Security to work with provinces for early resolution of the issue.

Board of Investment (BOI) briefed the CCI regarding development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC. CCI directed provinces to submit bankable proposals / documents for establishment of priority SEZs for early implementation. While discussing Power related issues of Balochistan, the CCI directed Planning Commission and the Power Division to expedite energy projects in the province. CCI considered and assented to place draft Bill for the Establishment of National Metrology Institute of Pakistan, (NMIP) before the Parliament.

NEPRA presented its Annual Report 2014-15 and State of Industry Report 2015 and Annual Report 2015-16 and State of Industry Report, 2016 before the CCI. The CCI also decided that the Federal Government may devise a National Policy Framework for ensuring wellbeing of the Senior Citizens in consultation with the provincial government and relevant federal ministries.

The document would serve as a guiding document for all the governments for having their own respective policy and legal instrument by meeting the broad parameters set forth in the policy framework. While discussing the allocation of additional water supply for Karachi City (K4 Project), the meeting decided that the issue would be taken up after a detailed presentation by the Ministry of Water Resources on the availability and distribution of water under IRSA Accord.

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