Cabinet rejects increase in prices of 10 medicines

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Urges members to enhance efforts to help flood-hit people

Ijaz Kakakhel
Islamabad

The federal cabinet on Tuesday rejected the summary of the Health Ministry, seeking an increase in the retail price of 10 medicines.

Chairing the meeting at PM Office in Islamabad, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif categorically stated that he could not support the price hike with regard to medicine. The cabinet discussed several matters including Hajj overbooking inquiry, mutual legal assistance with other countries, energy performance standards, legislative cases, and approval of the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The prime minister tasked Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Minister for Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema, Maritimes Affairs Minister Faisal Sabzwari, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, and Advisor on Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira to work towards improving coordination among provinces regarding the price of wheat and distribution of urea.

On the inquiry report regarding the overbooking of Hajj pilgrims, the cabinet pointed out the problems relating to reconciliation, however, ruled out any charges of malicious intention. The inquiry committee – that comprised representatives of finance and religious affairs ministries, and the State Bank of Pakistan – reported that the banks after the overbooking had compensated the pilgrims.

The prime minister directed the finance ministry and State Bank of Pakistan to question the banks over such negligence. He also issued a directive to SBP to keep their branches situation in the flood-affected areas open during holidays and weekly offs.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the cabinet approved the extension of the minimum energy performance standards of electric fans up till June 30, 2023.

The federal cabinet also gave approval to the decisions of ECC including funds amounting Rs 540 million in favour of Utility Stores Corporation for the provision of essential commodities in flood-hit areas. The other ECC decisions include allocation of PASCO’s local and imported wheat stock among recipient agencies; transfer of amount to Afghanistan government on functioning, maintenance, and salaries of three Pakistani hospitals, and allocation of Rs 3 billion funds to National Disaster Management Authority.

The cabinet approved a summary of the interior ministry to accept applications for Mutual Legal Assistance from countries which have no written agreement of legal cooperation with Pakistan.

The federal cabinet approved decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases on September 2. This included amendments in Rule-13 of Bio-Study Rules 2017, amendments in Section-15 of Emigration Ordinance 1979, and amendment in Gas (Theft Control and Recovery) Act-2016.

It also approved amendments to the service rules for the post of secretary, Evacuee Trust Property Board.

Moreover, the cabinet approved the inclusion of solar equipment, electric motors, and power transformers in the list of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

Furthermore, the cabinet also gave approval over an important matter ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to Uzbekistan related to Pakistan’s decision to sign an agreement with the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the agricultural sector. The summary was approved by the federal cabinet through circulation and the agreement will be signed during the PM’s visit to Uzbekistan.

 

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