ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a grant of $150 million for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccine.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the ECC meeting in Islamabad on Friday. Industries & Production Minister Hammad Azhar, Economic Affairs Division Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood were also present on the occasion.
The ECC evaluated a proposal submitted by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination and approved, in principle, the provision of a technical supplementary grant of $150 million for the purchase of Covid vaccine.
The health ministry briefed the committee that this shall be the first phase of procurement and the amount of vaccine will suffice for the most vulnerable 5pc of the population — health workers and people aged above 65 years. Besides, around 10 million people would be provided with vaccine cover under the above arrangement.
The ECC directed the health ministry to discuss the proposal with World Bank and other donors in coordination with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) so that they could assist in providing financial facility for the procurement of the vaccine during the first phase and for the procurement of additional quantities in the future as needed.
The forum also directed the ministry to draw a holistic proposal regarding the pricing and risk mitigation mechanism for the procurement of the Covid vaccine for provision on a wider scale.
Meanwhile, the ECC approved the EAD’s request to proceed with the formal request for availing the G-20 Debt Relief for the extended period (January-June 2021). Approval of the federal cabinet would be required for signing of the bilateral debt service suspension agreements.
The chair also approved a technical supplementary grant (TSG) of Rs19.65 billion for “Initiating the Process of Retrenchment of Pakistan Steel Mills Employees” and of Rs500 million for “Prime Minister’s Special Package to Implement ‘Skills For All’ Strategy as Catalyst for TVET Sector Development in Pakistan”.
Similarly, Rs689.3 million were approved as budget re-appropriation for National Information Technology Board (NITB) to fulfill its various requirements.
Moreover, the committee okayed a proposal of the Ministry of Energy/Petroleum Division for the allocation of 2.25MMCFD gas from Umair -1 to M/s OGDCL for sale to M/s Engro at a mutually agreed and negotiated price under a gas sale and purchase agreement, subject to initiation of field development plan and development and production lease.
Lastly, the ECC was briefed on the status of wheat import through Trade Corporation of Pakistan. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research informed the forum that a tender was floated on 11 Oct for the provision of additional 340,000MT wheat. Subsequently, the bids were opened on 18 oct and the lowest bid was accepted. The total quantity to be imported is now 2.248 million metric tonnes.