Web Desk: Islamabad, the Federal Cabinet during their session yesterday showed their concern where the rise of COVID-19 cases were concerned in the country. They stressed on the point for the entire nation to follow SOP’s so as to stay protected during this second wave of the pandemic which has taken a sudden rise as was expected.
While acknowledging the fact that Pakistan had fought the pandemic outstandingly in the world the cabinet reviewed the present situation in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
From a single digit number back in July and August, reaching an alarming two percent, the death toll in the country pertaining to the COVID has doubled and the cases reported have doubled throughout the nation, were the findings discussed by the cabinet.
After having discussed the essential need for the SOP’s like masks and sanitisers, the cabinet addressed the issue of much needed hike in the prices of basic commodities being provided for common families. This was a subject most of the Ministers showed their concern about. Especially, with the opposition parties raising the issue.
The Prime Minister evidently could be seen frustrated over the spiralling prices of sugar and flour, which have skyrocketed during the past few months. He directed the federal ministers wipe the smear of this inflation in prices and make it their mission to control them. He further added to be informed of the shortcomings and directed the government departments to put the inflation on a leash.
The cabinet was briefed on the wheat reserves situation and the imported wheat in view of future needs. The meeting was briefed on the status of release of government wheat by various provinces with special input from SAPM Chan.
The Punjab government was releasing 17,000 to 20,000 tonnes of wheat per day which was being increased to 25,000 tonnes. The Sindh government is releasing 85,000 tonnes of wheat from October 21 to 31, was what the cabinet was also informed about at full length.
The meeting was informed that the Punjab province had assured that supply of wheat would be ensured as per demand at the utility stores.
Similarly, Sindh has also assured wheat supply to the flour mills as per their requirement. The cabinet reiterated its commitment not only to ensure abundant availability of wheat in the country, but follow it up by a constant control on the prices.
The forum of ministers was briefed on the present sugar reserves, import situation and price. The cabinet was informed that the process of physical verification was started after Wajid Zia’s report on sugar. The meeting was also informed that the average monthly consumption of two to two and a half lakh tonnes of sugar had suddenly increased manifold and these have to be addressed for the lives of the common families.
The meeting was informed that where the sugar need was concerned, it was decided to import immediately. The cabinet was informed that the cane crushing season would begin in the next 20 days from Tuesday. A fine of Rs.5 million per day will be imposed for delay in the crushing season. In this regard, the Punjab government has amended the law. The cabinet was told that 200,000 tonnes of sugar would reach the country in the next few days. The prime minister directed that a detailed report on wheat and sugar be presented in the next cabinet meeting.
The cabinet during the meeting session also approved the interim management committee of Gun and Country Club Islamabad while the decisions taken in a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms on 7, October, 2020 were ratified.
The meeting approved the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited under the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Measures.
The cabinet also approved extension of additional charge of Chief Executive of Sindh Infrastructure Development Company and the decisions taken at the October 14, 2020 meeting of the Economic
Co-ordination Committee were ratified. The cabinet approved a proposal for issuance of 98 new Overseas Employment Promoter Licenses, revocation of 18 licenses, transfer of 10 licenses and change in the scope of five licenses.
The cabinet approved the decisions taken in the 15, October, 2020 meeting of the Economic Co-ordination Committee. The decisions taken in the cabinet committee meeting on Legislation on 19, October, 2020 were also ratified. The decision taken in cabinet committee on energy on 15, October, 2020 to meet the demand for furnace oil was also ratified.
Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq presented a cheque for Rs1,033,933 for the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund on behalf of the MQM.