By Fakhar Hayat Jutt
ISLAMABAD, Jul 02, Diplomatic Star(DS): Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Friday said the Federal Government was committed to resolve the problems being faced by sports journalists on priority under the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Imran Khan started his career as a sportsman and that is why he is well aware of the problems of sports journalists,” the minister said while addressing a ceremony held here in connection with the World Sports Journalists Day.
The prime minister and his team, he said, were striving to address the grievances of journalist community. Consultations were underway with the relevant ministries and provincial governments for devising an active plan for the purpose, he added.
He said it was the foremost priority of Information Ministry to take steps for the well-being of media persons.The working journalists under certain criteria would be accommodated in the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme, he added.
He said the government was contemplating to give health cards to the journalists to enable them to avail healthcare facilities for themselves and their families. Similarly, the proposal to incorporate journalists in the Kamyab Jawan Programme was under consideration to provide self-employment opportunities to the young journalists, he added.
He said the government was taking all possible steps to protect journalists and media professionals from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation at the hands of any person, institution (private or public) or authority.
The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021 had been tabled in the National Assembly after approval from the Federal Cabinet, he added.
Farrukh Habib said the role of sports journalists had always been instrumental in establishing the image of sportsmen as legends by giving them prominent coverage in newspapers and TV channels.
The minister said Pakistan’s economic indicators had improved as compared to other countries despite the Covid-19, due to prudent economic policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The exports had shown considerable increase than that of the regional competitors, including India and Bangladesh, he added.
He said despite the coronavirus pandemic the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) managed record Rs 4,732 billion tax collection, exceeding the revised target of Rs 4,691 billion by Rs 41 billion. It was 18 per cent higher than the last year of Rs 3,997 billion.
The FBR, he said, had issued record refunds of Rs 251 billion, 85 per cent higher than the previous year of Rs 135 billion.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government had collected Rs 3,842 billion taxes in the year 2017-18 whereas the imports stood at Rs 60 billion.
The PML-N regime’s tax collection included advance tax while refunds of billions of rupees were withheld during the period, Farrukh said. During the last year of PML-N government, the tax collected from the amnesty scheme was also added to the revenue collection.
He said the present government had increased the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) amount to Rs 900 billion to achieve an economic growth rate of 4.8 per cent in the current fiscal year (2021-22).
He said the development of the agriculture sector was vital for the progress and prosperity of the country. The prime minister was focusing on research and seed development to enhance per acre yield and preserve perishable commodities like fruits and vegetables.
Pakistan, he said, had favourable conditions of land and environment for cultivation of olive, avocado and other modern verities. He expressed the hope that the country would soon become an exporter of olive oil due to the steps taken by the government to promote its cultivation.