ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet has approved a 20% increase in prices of essential drugs for the second time in less than three months, according to a statement issued by the Finance Division.
The decision was made during the ECC meeting held with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar. On February 10, the ECC had already approved an increase in the prices of 20 medicines, including paracetamol.
The ECC allowed manufacturers and importers to increase the maximum retail prices of essential drugs by up to 70% increase in CPI with a cap of 14%, and up to 70% in CPI with a cap of 20% for other drugs and lower-priced drugs.
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination presented a summary on increase in maximum retail prices of drugs based on the recommendations of the Policy Board of DRAP in the wake of the devaluation of the rupee and inflation.
The ECC advised the Policy Board to review the situation after three months and make recommendations to the federal government regarding price decrease if the rupee appreciates its value.
Additionally, the ECC considered and approved a summary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding the fixation of wheat procurement targets for the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan for wheat crop 2022-23 along with cash credit limit.
The ECC assigned procurement targets and procurement prices to the governments of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan.
Furthermore, the ECC also approved Rs. 35 million additional funds as a technical supplementary grant in favour of the Ministry of Interior for the establishment of Passport Processing Centers (PPCs) at the Tehsil level in 30 administrative units throughout the country and the creation of 30 posts of MRP operational officers in the Department of Immigration and Passports, subject to the approval of the Austerity Committee.
The Ministry of Aviation submitted a summary on challenges and reopening of Roosevelt Hotel, New York, and informed that PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL) management has got an opportunity offered by the New York City Government to utilize the hotel over a period of three years for migrant business @ US$ 200 per room per day.
The ECC approved the recommendations of the ministry and approved the formation of a four-member negotiating committee led by the Secretary Aviation Division to negotiate with the New York City Government and the hotel union. The ECC also allowed PIA-IL/RHC to utilize the funds of $1.145 million from the available balance as bridge financing to commence the reopening work at the Hotel.