ISLAMABAD : Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi Thursday said the new shipping policy introduced by the government would help promoting blue economy in the country. Participating in the budget debate in the National Assembly, he said the maritime related blue economic sector remained neglected during past governments, but the incumbent government took several initiatives to exploit this sector. He said today was international seafarers day and the ministry had a plan to train maximum number of people as seafarers to send them abroad and work in foreign flag vessels. He said Pakistan seafarers who were working abroad send only $50 million remittances annually however a country like Philippines receive over $6 billion per year from their seafarers working abroad. The minister said during his tenure, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) paid back loans of Rs 4.7 billion, while Karachi Port Trust recovered damages of Rs 2.2 billion. Further, he informed that since 2010 no audit of KPT and Port Qasim had been conducted in the past and now the current government started the process of audit. He said in March and April current year, record 270 vessels were handled by the port Qasim despite COVID-19.
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