The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Friday allowed the Pakistan Internationa Airline Investment Limited (PIA-IL) to utilise the $1.145 million funds available from the balance as bridge financing to commence the re-opening work at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, US.
The ECC made the decision as it accepted the recommendations of the Ministry of Aviation regarding the re-opening of the hotel and approved the formation of a four-member committee, led by the aviation secretary, to negotiate with the New York City Government and the Hotel Union.
During an ECC meeting of the Cabinet, presided by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ministry submitted a summary regarding the challenges and re-opening of the Roosevelt Hotel.
It informed the committee that the PIA-IL management received an opportunity from the New York City government to utilise the hotel over a period of three years for migrant business at $200 per room per day.
Read Govt crafts plan for use of Roosevelt Hotel
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination presented a summary of the increase in maximum retail prices of drugs based on the recommendations of the Policy Board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) with regard to the devaluation of the rupee and inflation.
To ensure the continuous availability of drugs in the market, the ECC as a one-time dispensation, allowed manufacturers and importers to increase their existing Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) of essential drugs equal to a 70% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – with a cap of 14%.
It additionally permitted the MRPs of all other drugs and lower-priced drugs to increase up to 70% in the CPI (with a cap of 20%).
This was permitted on the basis of the average CPI for the current year (July 1, 2022, to April 1, 2023) with the condition that it should be considered as an annual increase for the financial year 2023-24 and no increase under this category would be granted in next financial year.
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The committee further advised the Policy Board to review the situation after three months in July 2023 and make its recommendations to the federal government regarding price decrease if the rupee appreciated in value.
The ECC also considered and approved a summary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research regarding the fixation of wheat procurement targets for the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan for Wheat Crop 2022-23 along with a Cash Credit Limit.
- Sindh assigned a procurement target of 1.400 million metric tonnes (MMT) with a procurement price of Rs4,000/40 kg.
- Punjab assigned a procurement target of 3.500 MMT with a procurement price of Rs3,900/40 kg.
- Balochistan assigned a procurement target of 0.100 MMT with a procurement price of Rs3,900/40 kg.
The ECC also approved Rs35 million additional funds as a Technical Supplementary Grant to the Ministry of Interior for the establishment of Passport Processing Centers (PPCs) at the tehsil level in 30 administrative units throughout the country, as well as the creation of 30 posts of MRP Operational officers in the Department of Immigration and Passports. This was subject to the approval of the Austerity Committee.
The ECC approved Rs450 million in favour of the Ministry of Interior as a Technical Supplementary Grant to meet the operational requirements of Islamabad Police regarding its liabilities and training of recruits.
Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghous Pasha, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik, Special Assistant to the PM (SAPM) on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Coordinator to the PM on Economy Bilal Azhar Kayani, federal secretaries and other senior officers attended the meeting.