ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved the extension in exchanging old Pakistani currency notes.
The cabinet approved the extension of the period for the exchange of old Pakistani 10, 50, 100, and 1000 currency notes till 31st December 2022.
At the meeting, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr. Faisal Sultan gave a briefing on the preventive measures regarding the new type of Corona variant, Omicron.
The cabinet emphasized the need to increase vaccinations, maintain social distance, and wearing masks.
It was informed that at present 20 million people in Pakistan have not been vaccinated with the second dose of Corona Vaccine.
The cabinet appealed to all such citizens to take the second dose as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID.
The meeting was also informed that Immunity increases 17-folds after the second dose of the vaccine.
The Prime Minister directed the Federal Ministers Asad Umar and Ms. Zubeida Jalal to visit Gwadar as soon as possible so that recommendations could be formulated for quick resolution of the problems of the people of Gwadar.
The meeting was briefed regarding the introduction of electronic voting machines and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis. The Cabinet welcomed the ECP’s decision to use an electronic voting machine in the local body elections in Islamabad. The Cabinet was given a detailed briefing on the schedule regarding delivery and use of electronic voting machines at all polling stations in the country and training of staff.
The Cabinet expressed its firm resolve to hold the next elections through electronic voting machines after the implementation of laws regarding electronic voting machines and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis.
Advisor Finance presented a comparative review of the prices of essential commodities to the Federal Cabinet. The weekly inflation rate has come down by 0.07 per cent. Prices of Sugar, flour and household items have decreased. Collectively, prices of 09 items decreased. Prices of 23 items remained stable. The Cabinet was informed that apart from the prices of Banaspati Ghee and tea leaves in the region, prices of all other essential items are lower in Pakistan.
These items include flour, grams, dal mash, dal mung, tomato, onion, chicken, and petrol. Concerns were raised over higher prices of essential commodities in Sindh including flour, sugar, milk, ghee, and pulses.
The Cabinet approved the amendment in the bilateral air route between Pakistan and Tajikistan. This decision will reduce both air distance and travel costs.
The Cabinet allowed Kazakh Air Company (SCAT) to operate in Pakistan to start air travel between Pakistan and Kazakhstan. The decision will enable direct air travel between Pakistan and Kazakhstan and help boost bilateral trade.
To promote trade between Pakistan and Central Asian countries, the Cabinet directed the Aviation Division to start work on finalizing air travel agreements with all Central Asian countries.
The Cabinet approved an amendment to the air travel agreement between Pakistan and Iraq. This decision will increase the number of commercial flights between Pakistan and Iraq.
The Cabinet was informed that there is no shortage of urea in the country at present. However, to ensure the supply of urea fertilizer for the Rabi crop in the country, the following approvals were given.
Sui Northern Gas Company will supply gas to urea plants by January 2022. Gas supply to Pak Arab and Fatima Fertilizer Plants will be ensured. The process of importing additional 50,000 tons of urea should be completed expeditiously. The cabinet was also informed that the price of urea per sack in Pakistan is about Rs. 1864 while in other countries it is being sold at Rs. 10,000 per sack.
The present government has taken huge and significant steps for the development of agriculture in the country and the welfare of farmers.
The Cabinet was given a detailed briefing on sugar production and sugar prices in the country. The Cabinet expressed satisfaction over the current stock and price of sugar. The Prime Minister directed that the strategic reserves of sugar be maintained so that prices remain stable. The Cabinet also approved the issuance of the recommendations of the report of the Special Committee on Sugar Sector Reforms for public opinion.
On the basis of humanitarian grounds, the process of obtaining Pakistani visas for Afghans has been further eased. After this decision, the security clearance required for obtaining a visa has been reduced from 30 days to 15 days.
It was also decided to further facilitate the registration process of international NGOs working for the welfare and assistance of the Afghan people.
This decision has been made on humanitarian grounds and to aid the people of Afghanistan.
The facility for Afghans immigrating to other countries through Pakistan has been extended for another 60 days. This facility includes travel by land and air routes.
It was also decided to make the process of obtaining a Pakistani visa easier for the officials of international NGOs working for the welfare of the Afghan people.
This decision has been made on humanitarian grounds and for helping the people of Afghanistan. OGRA’s annual report for the year 2019-20 was presented to the Cabinet.
The report comprises recommendations regarding the performance of Pakistan’s petroleum industry, production, supply and demand, and improvement of the petroleum industry.
The Cabinet was informed that at present there is a 27-days stock of petrol and diesel. About 75 Exploration licenses generated revenue of Rs. 29 billion. Safety standards for LPG cylinders are being improved and a public awareness campaign is underway. 10 licenses were issued to LPG companies. An audit is being carried out to prevent gas theft. Action is being taken against those selling petrol at illegal petrol pumps and in plastic containers.
The Cabinet endorsed the decisions taken at the meeting of the Committee on Institutional Reforms held on November 24, 2021.
CCIR Decisions – Merger of National Research Institute for Fertility Care Karachi with National Institute of Population Studies, Islamabad.
The Cabinet ratified the decisions taken in the meeting of the Committee on Energy held on 02 December 2021.
CCOE Decision – Tariff Protection (Deemed Duty) for Refineries – Report by Implementation Committee for renegotiation with IPPs under 2002 Power Policy (Rs. 134 billion paid to IPPs) The Cabinet ratified the decisions taken at the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) held on December 10, 2021.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Policy 2021-25
Commercial Gas allocation from M/S United Energy Pakistan’s Fields.
The mechanism for Granting Concessionary Tariff to the eligible Consumers of Zero-Rated Industrial Consumers of Lahore and Sundar Industrial Estate and for prospective Industrial Estates.
Cabinet approved giving the additional charge of CEO, Central Power Purchasing Agency to Chief Financial Officer, CPPA.
Cabinet approved NDMA’s assistance to Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds. The government of Pakistan has already provided 200,000 tons of wheat under the World Food Program and has provided an additional 50,000 tons of wheat as aid to the Afghan people.