ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoI&B) has sought help of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet for allocation of Rs 141 million to be released to media for Covid-19 campaign, official sources told Business Recorder.

Pakistan is among the countries severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan, a National Coordination Committee for Covid-19 was constituted to ensure the safety and security of people.

In the light of the decisions of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) and the Cabinet, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting designed a media campaign for raising awareness among public at large for containing the spread of the virus. Ministry of Information has already incurred an expenditure amounting to Rs. 141.380 million on an awareness campaign.

According to the Ministry, the provision of funds amounting to Rs. 500 million was approved by ECC on June 10, 2020. The decision of the ECC was also endorsed and ratified by the Cabinet on June 23, 2020. However, these funds were never made available to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The Ministry of Information further added that it was compelled to launch the media campaign in the absence of available budget as it had emergent directions from the Cabinet. Consequently, campaign amounting to Rs. 141,308,000/- was run on the private public channels. However, the amount still remains un-paid till date.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has claimed that it took up the funding matter with the Finance Division on a number of occasions but funding has not been made available so far.

The sources said fiscal stimulus package for Covid-19 was at the disposal of Finance Division and the respective media houses are pressing hard for payment which is why the Ministry has approached Economic Coordination Committee requesting it to direct Finance Division to allocate Rs. 141.308 million as Technical Supplementary Grant/Supplementary Grant to MOI&B to enable it to clear the already accumulated dues.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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