ECC approves $150m for Covid-19 vaccines

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The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved $150 million as a technical supplementary grant for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

The ECC took the decision during a meeting presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh. Technical supplementary grant to initiate the retrenchment process in Pakistan Steel Mills was also approved.

ECC evaluated a proposal submitted by the ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination and approved, in principle, the provision of technical supplementary grant of $150 million for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The meeting was informed that this would be the first phase of procurement and the amount of vaccine would suffice for the most vulnerable five percent of the population – health workers and the population above the age of 65 years. Around 10 million people would be provided a vaccine cover under the above arrangement.

ECC directed the ministry of national health services to discuss the proposal with the World Bank and other donors in coordination with economic affairs division 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 future as needed.

The forum also directed the ministry to draw a proposal regarding the pricing and risk mitigation mechanism for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine for provision on a wider scale, in consultation with the relevant stake holders.

ECC approved the request of the economic affairs division 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.

ECC also approved two technical supplementary grants for initiating the process of retrenchment of Pakistan Steel Mills employees for an amount of Rs19.7 billion and special package to implement skills for all strategy for Rs500 million.

The meeting also approved Rs689.3 million as budget re-appropriation for National Information Technology Board for fulfilling its various requirements during the meeting.

ECC approved the proposal by the ministry of energy/ petroleum division for the allocation of 2.25 million metric cubic feet per day gas from Umair -1 to Oil and Gas Development Company for sale to 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.

The meeting was briefed on the status of wheat import through Trade Corporation of Pakistan. Ministry of food security and research told the forum on the provision of additional 340,000 tons of wheat a tender was floated on 11th October. The bids were opened on 18th October and lowest bid was accepted. The total quantity to be imported is now 2.248 million tons.

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