Islamabad, July 25, 2023 – The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Pakistan, in a recent cabinet committee meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, has given the green light for the fixation of Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) of 25 new drugs. This decision is expected to impact the pharmaceutical industry and consumers alike.
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination had submitted a summary proposing the fixation of MRPs for 26 new drugs. Following discussions, the ECC approved the retail prices of these medications to ensure they are accessible to the public.
In another significant development, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented a summary for the allocation of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO’s) wheat amongst recipient agencies, provinces, and areas for the year 2023-24. According to the ministry, the recipient agencies have requested 2,488,000 metric tons of wheat for the mentioned period. The ECC has allowed the allocation of wheat among recipients, with 50% to be sourced locally and the other 50% to be imported based on the weighted average price of the stock. All recipient agencies will be required to pay the full price of wheat and incidental charges of PASSCO without any financial liability on the part of the federal government.
The ECC has also directed the provincial governments to settle the pending liabilities of Rs. 149 billion owed to PASSCO before signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the procurement of wheat for the current year.
Moreover, to foster the growth of industries and enhance export targets, the ECC has approved amendments in the EPZA Rules, 1981, and EPZs (Control of Entry and Exit of Persons and Goods) Regulations, 1994. This decision allows the import of construction material from the tariff area into EPZs of Northern regions (Sialkot, Gujranwala, and Risalpur), as well as all future EPZs, in local currency rather than foreign convertible currency. This relaxation will apply to locally manufactured products by Pakistani entrepreneurs for the next five years.
Additionally, the Power Division submitted a summary seeking approval for the commissioning of 1263 MW CCPP-Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited Jhang. The ECC, after deliberations, has approved the deferment of performance tests on High-Speed Diesel (HSD) as required by the Government of Punjab. The Commercial Operation Date (COD) of Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited on Re-Gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) will be declared upon successful completion of Commissioning Tests on RLNG. In case RLNG fuel is unavailable, PTPL will be treated as experiencing forced outages under the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) until successful testing of the power plant on HSD fuel.
Furthermore, the Petroleum Division submitted a summary proposing the allocation of condensate to Attock Refinery Limited (ARL) and its freight charges adjustment through the Integrated Energy Management System (IFEM). The ECC has approved this proposal and allowed the reallocation of 5,000 barrels per day (BPD) of condensate to ARL from UEPL’s Naimat Facility.
The ECC has also granted approval for various Technical Supplementary Grants (TSG) for the execution of development schemes under the SDGs Achievement Program (SAP) in different provinces. Notably, Rs. 47,149 million has been allocated for the Ministry of Housing and Works, Rs. 10 billion for the PM’s Youth Business & Agriculture Loan Scheme (PMYB&ALS), Rs. 2,725 million for the Power Division, and Rs. 1,016.000 million for the Petroleum Division.
The ECC meeting was attended by prominent officials, including Federal Ministers for Commerce, Power, Climate Change, and Industries and Production, along with other senior officers.
These decisions are expected to have significant implications for the healthcare sector, agriculture, industries, and overall economic development in Pakistan. The approval of drug prices aims to ensure affordable and accessible healthcare for citizens, while the allocation of wheat and development funds seeks to boost various sectors and achieve sustainable growth.