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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the federal cabinet has approved price-determination of 38 new medicines.

While briefing the media after the cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister, the minister for information said that after the changes in prices of medicines, the pharma sector has shown substantial growth and for the first time, the industry has strengthened.

The minister said that Dr Faisal Sultan would be asked to brief the media about it.

The minister said that cabinet decided to relax the PPRA rules for urea and so as to overcome the shortage if any and approved Rs5 billion for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding local government elections, and Islamabad Local Government Ordinance, 2021 was approved.

The cabinet also approved appointment of members of federal government properties management authority’s board of governor.

He said that a survey revealed that thousands of acre land is illegally occupied with highest forest land is illegally occupied in Sindh.

‘Substantial quantities of drugs were seized last month’

He said that the government has initiated two big inquiries – sugar and oil –oil marketing inquiry has been completed and report has been submitted to the cabinet and Hammad Azhar or Asad Umar would be requested to give detailed briefing as entire OMC sector has been revamped and the OGRA has been strengthened with new rules and regulation.

He said after the inquiry, one company’s CEO has been arrested and DG oil of OGRA is also in jail.

The federal cabinet has decided to set up a committee on the EVMs to decide about how many machines, technical expertise and funding after the approval of law.

He said that to develop coordination or mechanism with the ECP, a committee has been formed with Dr Babar Awan, Azam Swati, Shibli Faraz, Aminul Haq, and others.

He added that there is a problem of inflation in Sindh including Karachi.

Karachi has the highest inflation in all of Pakistan as 20kg bag of flour in Karachi is being sold at Rs1,461 compared to Lahore Rs1,100. Sugar is being sold at Rs107 per kg in Karachi, while in Rawalpindi; Lahore Peshawar, Multan, Bunnu, sugar is available at Rs90 to 95 per kg.

The minister said that the sugar will soon be available at Rs85 per kg in the next two weeks.

The minister said that the problem of high inflation is being reported from Karachi and Sindh.

He said the price of tomatoes and garlic has also declined although there the government faces increase in the price of electricity and oil.

He said that the cabinet also gave approval for transportation of 50,000 tons of Indian wheat through Pakistan.

He said Sindh government is not taking timely decision and the entire country faces problems and warned that if the provincial government of Sindh did not take corrective measures, federal government would be compelled to take action.

Cabinet to meet today: Drug price hike on the cards

The minister said that Pakistan Muslim League (N) is trying to pressurize the judiciary whenever cases are started against them and expressed the hope that the judiciary would reject the pressure as the SCBA has distanced itself from the conference.

He said that this matter should not be stopped and must be taken to logical conclusion.

The minister said that Maryam Nawaz role was always negative.

He said that a series of seminars were held with one in Lahore and other in Islamabad and it was disclosed that both were foreign funded.

Dr Shireen Mazari demanded during the meeting of the cabinet from the Foreign Office that the donors issue should be raised as per Vienna Convention.

The cabinet was given a briefing on the IMF package and was apprised about the details on the vacant positions in ministry of industries and production and Federal Ministry of Education

The federal cabinet gave approval to establishment of Gem and Jewellery Authority to increase their exports.

He said that approval has been granted for direct communication between Karachi and Riyadh with the inclusion of Pakistan in Riyadh MOU ports.

The meeting also gave approval of appointment of Saeed Ahmed CEO Sukkur Electric Company, and the HESCO CEO has been removed and Noor Ahmed replaced him. Javed Akhtar has been appointed member water and Jamil Akhter member power WAPDA. The cabinet ratified the Cabinet Committee on Energy’s decision of 4th November and 11th November and detailed briefing would be given on it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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