P.M Shehbaz removes Finance Minister from Economic forum

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Islamabad:15 June 2024: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will now personally lead the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), a move seen as a rare departure from tradition where the Finance Minister would typically chair the committee. This decision was communicated as part of the formation of a new eight-member center-provincial forum.

This marks a significant shift as it breaks decades-long convention where the finance minister has overseen Ecnec, a key constitutional forum. Prime Minister Sharif, who also chairs the Cabinet Committee on Energy, will now head Ecnec. The notification issued by the Cabinet Division specifies that the committee will include Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal from the federal side.

In the absence of the prime minister, Ishaq Dar will preside over Ecnec meetings, highlighting the restructuring of leadership roles within the cabinet. Previously, Dar held multiple chairmanships of cabinet committees, some of which are now distributed among senior cabinet members.

Ecnec’s provincial members consist of Punjab’s senior minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sindh’s Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro, KP Chief Minister's adviser Muzzammil Aslam, and Balochistan’s Finance Minister Mir Shoaib Nosherwani. The committee also includes key officials from the Planning Commission and provincial governments, ensuring broad representation in its deliberations.

Ecnec retains its critical role in approving Public Sector Development Programme schemes across federal and provincial levels, adhering to sanctioning limits defined by the National Economic Council. Additionally, it holds authority to revise plans proposed by the Planning Commission and review policy matters related to development projects before their submission to the NEC.

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