Funds were allocated under economic stimulus package for the entire duration of COVID-19 pandemic.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet Wednesday re-validated Rs 352 billion in the current fiscal year for procurement of Covid-19 vaccine as the government aimed to vaccinate at least 85 million by December this year.

Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the ECC meeting (through a video link), while Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, federal secretaries, chairman FBR and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir also joined the meeting through a video link, said a statement.

The finance division tabled a summary to carry forward for FY 2021-22, the un-utilized cash component equal to Rs 352 billion out of the Economic Stimulus Package amounting to Rs 1240 billion (given in March 2020) to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to support the marginalized sections of the society.

The funds were allocated under the economic stimulus package for the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic irrespective of the financial year.

The ECC also considered a summary presented by the ministry of commerce regarding Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2020-25 to enhance export competitiveness of Pakistan through a framework of policy interventions.

The proposed STPF 2020-25 also includes a monitoring and implementation mechanism and the underlying rationale is to enhance exports as a national priority through collaborative and cohesive efforts.

While speaking on the occasion, the finance minister directed that the factors related to a market-based realistic exchange rate must be incorporated under the proposed STPF 2020-25.

He stressed to include specific measures for encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and consolidation of fragmented export industry in the country.

The committee decided to review the draft STPF 2020-25 after having another consultative meeting with all relevant stakeholders and present an updated policy framework before the next ECC for approval.

The ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) presented a summary regarding intervention price for the cotton crop for FY 2021-22.

The ECC had earlier constituted a Committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister for NFS&R, for presenting recommendations to promote cotton production and bring price stability in the domestic market by monitoring local market prices.

The ECC deliberated over the recommendations by the Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) and it was decided that another consultative session would be held with all key stakeholders on board including ministry of NFS&R, Finance Division and Commerce to finalize the recommendations and present the revised summary before the cabinet.