ECC approves $150 mln for purchase of COVID-19 vaccine

ISLAMABAD, Nov 20 (APP): The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) Friday approved in principle, the provision of technical supplementary grant of US $150 million for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Ministry of Health briefed the ECC that this would be the first phase of procurement and the amount of vaccine would suffice for the most vulnerable 5% of the population such as health workers and the population above the age of 65 years and around 10 million people would be provided a vaccine cover under the above arrangement.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC here.

The ECC further 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.

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The forum also directed the Ministry of NHS to draw a holistic 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.

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, also participated in the meeting.

The ECC also 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 i.e January-June 2021; approval of the Federal Cabinet would be required for signing of the bilateral debt service suspension agreements.

The cabinet committee also approved two technical supplementary grants for “Initiating the Process of Retrenchment of Pakistan Steel Mills Employees (PSM)” for an amount of
Rs 19.656 billion and “Prime Minister’s Special Package to Implement “Skills For All” strategy as catalyst for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Sector Development in Pakistan for Rs 500 million.

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Similarly Rs 689.3 million were also approved as budget re-appropriation for National Information Technology Board (NITB) for fulfilling its various requirements during the meeting.

The ECC also approved the proposal by the Ministry of Energy/ Petroleum Division for the allocation of 2.25 MMCFD 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.

ECC was also briefed on the status of wheat import through Trade Corporation of Pakistan.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the forum on the provision of additional 340,000 MT of wheat for which a tender was floated on November 10 and the bids were opened on October 18 and lowest bid was accepted. The total quantity to be imported is now 2.248 MMT.