Cabinet quashes health ministry’s summary on price hike of 10 medicines

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday rejected the summary of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination proposing an increase in the retail price of 10 medicines. Chairing the meeting here at PM Office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif categorically stated that he did not support the price hike with regard to medicine.
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 Adviser 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. With multiple agenda items on the table, the cabinet discussed the 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).
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 SBP 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. The cabinet approved the summary of the Interior Ministry to accept applications for Mutual Legal Assistance from the countries which have no written agreement of legal cooperation with Pakistan.
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 prime minister emphasized improving the quality of the products before the deadline. The federal cabinet approved September 2nd’s decisions of the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases including 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 the amendment in service rules of the post of Secretary, Evacuee Trust Property Board. Also, the inclusion of solar equipment, electric motors, and power transformers has been made mandatory in the list of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority. The federal cabinet gave approval to the decisions of ECC including funds amounting Rs540 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 Rs3 billion funds to National Disaster Management Authority for providing relief to flood-hit people.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif urged the members of cabinet to come forward to help address the miseries of flood-hit people and enhance the relief and rehabilitation efforts. Presiding over the federal cabinet meeting, the prime minister in his televised remarks urged the ministers to put more focus on helping the poor flood-stricken at this critical time besides fulfilling their official duties.
“In this digital world, you can even do your official work through zoom. But you also have to help those [flood-affected] people as well,” he remarked. The Prime Minister, while acknowledging the efforts of those cabinet members, who are active in flood relief activities, said those not active in such efforts should also come forward and help the affected people. He hoped that water in the flood affected areas will recede in two to three months and people will be rehabilitated. “Be it the philanthropists, doctors, police officers, bureaucrats, army, all know what is the situation. Your efforts will be remembered by the flood affected people.”
The Prime Minister lamented that the flood affected masses, who also knew the people doing politics at this critical time and were quiet, will respond when the time will come. He said that Pakistan despite its meager contribution in the global emission, was facing the huge effects of climate change. The Prime Minister appreciated UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for visiting Pakistan at the critical time as well as the UN flash appeal of US $ 160 million to help the flood affected people. He said that the UN Secretary General, who also visited the flood affected areas during his visit, urged international community to take practical steps to help Pakistan to mitigate the sufferings of the flood affected people as well as to reduce the negative effects of climate change. The Prime Minister also lauded UN Secretary Antonio Guterres for his empathetic attitude towards the flood-affected people and his views about climate change injustice with Pakistan.