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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs2 billion for media campaigns of government initiatives against the demand of Rs5 billion by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The Ministry of Information, in a summary, submitted to the ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, requested for providing Rs5 billion, however, the meeting approved Rs2 billion TSG.

The ministry, in the summary, contended that it has been assigned the task of advertising including awareness campaign as per rules of business and there is a persistent need to launch media campaigns in order to create awareness among the masses on the government’s public initiatives.

The summary further stated that the government runs regular awareness and publicity campaigns on various public matters, however, there is very limited data available to analyse the impact of these campaigns on the country’s image created through them, which is crucial to plan and develop communication plans that can win hearts and minds across the globe. This reality points out the need for research that can back future communication initiatives, the summary continued. The amended advertisement policy approved by the cabinet in 2022 allows this ministry to carry out the need assessment of the media campaigns.

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The ministry also informed the meeting that the Finance Division had allocated Rs151 million for this ministry for advertisement and publicity of the government projects, programmes, and initiatives in the fiscal year 2022-23. These funds are being utilised but are not sufficient to launch comprehensive media campaigns on various government programmes, projects and initiatives, and to carry out above stated need assessment as well.

The meeting was also told that the ministry has also requested the ECC, earlier, for allocation of Rs5 billion as supplementary, TSG in favour of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to launch publicity, awareness campaigns within the ongoing financial year.

However, in response, the ECC deferred the summary and directed to re-submit a fresh summary for its consideration.

In compliance with the directions issued by the ECC, the ministry once again approached the Finance Division for their concurrence to present the case before the ECC but once again the Finance Division expressed its inability to accede to the request of granting additional funds.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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