Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on Tuesday said that the federal cabinet has decided to tighten the noose around the sugar mafia.
In a conversation with the media, following a federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, the minister vowed that the sugar mafia “will not be spared”.
“The arrest proceedings of these evil doers will be based on actions dating back to 1985,” he added.
Rasheed said that it was also decided that an investigation based on the sugarcane report will be carried out. “We will expose everyone’s unlawful deeds.”
“We are going to close in on all those who flout the law, the sugar mafia, money launderers, and smugglers. The cabinet has avowed no one will be spared,” he said.
“I said that those who present a clash of interests must not be in attendance during the meeting,” he added.
The cabinet also accorded approval to the country’s first mobile phone device manufacturing policy, according to a notification by the Ministry of Industry and Production.
Under the policy, the assembly of mobile phones valued under $350 will be exempt from fixed income tax.
Additionally, according to sources, an increase in the fixed income tax of phones in the $350-$500 category by Rs2,000 was approved.
Phones valued more than $500 will also see a rise in fixed income tax by up to Rs6,300, said the sources.
A policy for nondeclaration of mobile phones import will also be done away with, according to the policy.
Local manufacturers will be allowed a 3% R&D allowance for export of phones. The sale of these phones will be provided a 4% reduction in withholding tax.
PTA approved manufacturers will be exempt from regulatory duty for CKD/SKD manufacturing.
The government will keep a distinction between end-to-end manufacturing and assembling.
The EDB will act as the sectretariat for the manufacturing policy implementation.
According to the industry and production ministry, the total volume of trade in Pakistan for mobile phones is approximately Rs40 million a year.
A total of 16 companies are currently manufacturing phones in Pakistan.
The local industry has expressed satisfaction at the new policy, said the notification.
The cabinet discussed, among a range of issues, the upcoming federal budget and the coronavirus situation in the country.
The session began at 12pm at the Prime Minister House.
All government representatives, including the premier, strictly followed standard operating procedures to guard against the spread of COVID-19 — foremost of which is the use of a mask, which has been declared mandatory by the government.
Among other issues that formed the focus of the meeting were the country’s current political issues, as well as economic challenges.
Additionally, the cabinet discussed the progress in the upcoming federal budget for FY2020-21.
The cabinet was informed on the progress in the PIA plane crash investigation as well as the identification of bodies.
Furthermore, it was apprised of the locust swarm attacks on crops across the country. A joint presentation in this regard was given by National Disaster Management Authority and officials from the ministry of food security.