Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, Nawabzada Shazain Bugti Wednesday said that the government is committed to strengthening its precursor control regime in pursuance of its commitments to address the World Drug Problem under the principle of common and shared responsibility. Addressing the launching ceremony of the automated Precursor Management System (PMS), the minister highlighted that the up-gradation is the centerpiece of the government’s modernization drive and has greatly contributed towards its long-term goals and objectives. He said that the upgradation has enabled the Ministry of Narcotics Control in drug regulation, and countering drug abuse and associated health issues affecting the young Pakistani strata, particularly in educational settings. He also thanked UNODC for its continued technical support that led to the design and automation of Pakistan’s PMS. In her remarks, Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Ms. Humaira Ahmed highlighted that the new automated PMS is a manifestation of the government’s broader vision to automate the entire process of registration and issuance of ‘No-Objection Certificate (NOC)’ to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry for importing, exporting and utilizing controlled precursor chemicals. “The requests for grant of NOC can now be generated electronically and all steps (including document submission, utilization details, and import licenses) have also been automated. It will also significantly improve transparency and trust among the public-private stakeholders concerned”, she said. Addressing the event Dr. Jeremy Milsom, Representative UNODC Country Office in Pakistan highlighted that the new web-based PMS has significantly enhanced the capacities of these national authorities to collect or receive, process, interpret data and approve requests related to import and legitimate industrial use of controlled precursor chemicals in a more secure and real-time manner. “This technical capacity-building initiative will improve Pakistan’s precursor control regime and improve ‘ease-of-doing businesses for the Pakistani chemical and pharmaceutical industry, he said. Hence, this capacity development has paved the way for attaining the objectives of the Government of Pakistan’s Anti Narcotics Policy 2019, and our shared aspirations under the provisions of UNODC’s Pakistan Country Program III (2022-2025)”, Dr. Milsom said. In a comprehensive presentation on the PMS, Senior Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Sabino Sikandar Jalal apprised about the design and functioning of web-based information management and application processing system that has replaced manual processing system. The newly developed system will be focusing on public companies’ registration, requests for importing controlled precursor chemicals for industrial use, issuance of ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’, and submission of utilization details of imported controlled chemicals. In his remarks, the former Chairman of the PCMA, Mr. Zafar Mahmood expressed satisfaction with PMS and highlighted that one of the leading objectives of the PCMA was to anticipate, suggest, and respond to the Government of Pakistan’s regulatory policy and practices. “The PCMA is committed to attracting new investments and improving Pakistan’s chemical exports. We continue endeavors to achieve competitiveness through sustainable growth and adoption of global best practices, in close coordination with the Government of Pakistan”, he said. The newly automated Precursor Management System is an online portal for registering and applying NOC for importing controlled precursor chemicals by the industry. This new automated system has been technically supported by UNODC, through funding support from the Government of Japan. Other participants included a representative of UNODC Country Office Pakistan (COPAK), officials from various federal ministries and line departments, senior representatives from the industry and civil society, and international donor representatives who also attended the ceremony. Despite limited resources and technological and research gaps, the government has been taking concrete measures both at the policy and operational levels. Pakistan’s National Anti-Narcotics Council is chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan that comprises several federal and provincial ministries and law enforcement agencies. Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Policy 2019 envisions strong drug demand reduction, supply reduction, and international cooperation. The policy also envisions developing an effective drug monitoring and intelligence system for undertaking necessary supply and demand reduction activities in the affected areas and communities.