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Prices of natural gas will not be increased, NA told

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ISLAMABAD:(APS)Jan 1,2015-The 28th session of the National Assembly began in Islamabad this afternoon with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.

The Speaker announced panel of chairpersons for the current session.

Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar introduced two bills in the National Assembly on Friday. They are “The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and “The Financial Institutions (Secured Transactions) Bill, 2016”.

Responding to a call-attention notice the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has categorically stated that prices of natural gas would not be increased. He said that OGRA revises gas prices every six months.

About gas shortage he said the Ministry is working on the issue and hoped that the next winter would be much better than present one.

He said Pakistan is a federation but there is no shortage of gas in gas producing provinces but even domestic consumers are suffering in other provinces. He said this issue needs to be debated at the floor of the Parliament.

Replying to another Call- attention notice, Minister of State for Education Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said the government is expanding only two percent of the GDP of the budget on education sector against the needed four percent. He said, however, the budget for higher education has been doubled as compared to 2012-13.

The National Assembly resumed discussion on President’s address to the Joint Session of the Parliament.

Taking part in the discussion Sahibzada Muhammad Yaqoob welcomed resolve of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ensure provision of health facilities to the poor all over the country. He demanded more attention on promotion of education and tackling the problem of corruption. He said special attention should be paid to the development of FATA and Malakand.

Shahida Rehmani criticized policies of the government and said these have led to price-hike, unemployment and increase in  poverty. She demanded that decisions regarding operation in Karachi should be taken by the Chief Minister of Sindh.

Sajida Begum called for practical measures to generate employment opportunities and demanded special attention for imparting vocational skills to women.

Siraj Muhammad Khan pointed out that National Testing Service is fleecing the general public through its excessive test charges.

The Speaker said the issue of NTS has been agitated by all political parties and referred the matter to a committee for a detailed report within 30 days. He said the committee should investigate where the money collected by NTS goes.

The House will now meet on Monday at four p.m.

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