From Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) yesterday decided to enhance one per cent random sampling of the census data to five per cent, after receiving a detailed presentation on the issue of third-party validation of the census results by the Statistics Division. The CCI meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, decided that every effort would be made to complete the process within the shortest possible time. Furthermore, the Council decided to constitute a national task force on education standards in the country. The task force would look into the issues related to curriculum, the medium of instruction etc, and make recommendations for bringing uniformity and improving quality of education across the country. The meeting also discussed matters pertaining to the Higher Education and other similar bodies in the post 18th constitutional amendment. On the issue of import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the meeting decided that the concerns of the provinces would be sent to the ministry concerned and the issue would be discussed in the next meeting along with views of the ministry concerned. On the issue of provision of gas to localities/villages falling within a five-km radius of gas production fields, it was decided that all expenditures involved would be borne by the distribution companies. In case of the province of Balochistan, provision of gas to the nearest tehsil headquarters or district headquarters, as the case may be, would be ensured. The issue of net hydel profits was also discussed during the meeting. It was informed that the issue of the two provinces had been amicably resolved during the meeting with the prime minister. Over the issue of export of surplus sugar, the meeting decided to recommend to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to allow export of 1.5 mmt sugar during the fiscal year 2017-18. The existing subsidy level on the exports would continue. The meeting also agreed to real-time monitoring of the electricity production, allocation to each DISCOs and duration of load-shedding by the provinces. A similar mechanism would be made available for the gas sector also. On the issue of establishment of Fiscal Coordination Committee, the meeting decided that the existing committee constituted under NFC would be further mandated to ensure better coordination of the senior officials of finance divisions of the provinces and the federal government in matters relating to the fiscal consolidation.