Pakistan Railways is purchasing 55 locomotives from United States at a cost of US $213,689 million, the National Assembly was informed on Monday.
“On finalisation of a competitive bidding process, Pakistan Railways signed a contract agreement amounting to $213,689 million with Ms General Electric (GE), United States of America on 20-06-2015,” Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique replied in written to a question asked by PTI MNA Munaza Hassan.
These locomotives would be of 4,000 to 4,500 Horse-powers, he said, adding that 63 locomotives were received in the year 2013-14 and 2014-15 which were purchased against contract agreement with M/s. CSR Ziyang, China in financial year 2012-13.
The total amount spent on their purchase was $129.688 million, he said.
To another question, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman informed the house that the primary reason for allocating less percentage of GDP toward education owes to the less fiscal space available.
“Pakistan’s tax to GDP ratio was hardly around 8.1 percent in 2013,” he said, adding the government’s good performance in finance and tax collection raised the tax to GDP ratio to around 12.2 percent and so is the case with our public expenditure which has gone up from around Rs 520 billion in 2012-13 to Rs 768 billion in 2015-16.
Similarly, in terms of percentage of GDP it is going up from around 1.97 percent in 2012-13 towards 2.5 percent in 2016, he said.
To a question about Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan International Airlines, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab informed the house that at present there is no CEO of PIA on permanent basis.
Bernd Hildenbrand who was hired as Chief Operating Officer is performing the duties as Acting CEO in addition to his own duty, he said, adding that during his career he served in various countries including India from 1994 -96 as Senior Vice President of a private airline which was a joint venture of German national airline Lufthansa with an Indian partner.
As per Air Navigation Order (ANO) 001 the security clearance is required for the Director and CEO of any airline registered in Pakistan if they hold foreign or dual nationality, he said.
The minister said that Aviation Division has already sought No Objection Certificate from Ministry of Interior from security point of view; however, response from the ministry is awaited.
Aviation Division is constantly following up the case with Ministry of Interior, he said, adding that Bernd has been hired as Chief Operating Officer after following the codal formalities on contract basis for a period of two years, effective 12th February 2016 (extendable), subject to the security clearance.
Bernd is officiating as CEO these days because the process of hiring a permanent CEO has been started, the minister said. Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid informed the house that as per available record in the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC), 183 No Objection Certificates for the import of films containing Indian cast and crew have been issued by the federal government (Ministry of Commerce) during the last three years.
The NOCs are issued by the Ministry of Commerce on the recommendation of the Information and Broadcasting Division, he said, adding the Ministry of Commerce seeks prior views of CBFC and Information and Broadcasting Division on the content of the film before issuance of the NOC.
The minister said the films which are contrary to the censorship laws are not granted censor certificates. “So far, CBFC has banned 12 films containing Indian cast and crew and 4 English films during the last three years, which depicted negative content,” he said.
Moreover, out of 183 films containing Indian cast and crew, 130 films have been passed with excisions and out of 261 English films, 91 have been passed with excisions, he said. -Business Recorder