ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the launch of the Local and International Monopoly Sukuk Programme on the recommendation of the Finance Division. The Cabinet also approved reducing the price of 100mg Remdesivir injections used in the treatment of Coronavirus from Rs2,308.63 to Rs1,892.

Briefing the mediapersons about the decisions taken in the Federal Cabinet meeting along with Prime Minister’s Advisor on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that previously, the prices of medicines were increased and especially because of the dollar price parity the prices were high but the government has kept the price of essential medicines low keeping the poor segment of the society in mind.

The minister said that the prime minister acknowledged the efforts of Minister for Industry and Production, Makhdoom Murtaza and his team who visited Indonesia at his own expense and after his tireless efforts, Indonesia started exporting edible oil to Pakistan on a priority basis.

He said the prime minister also talked to the president of Indonesia and requested Makhdoom Murtaza, to look into the matter personally since the crisis regarding the supply chain of the edible oil was inevitable after the decision of Indonesia not to export palm oil to Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Minister of State for External Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar also briefed the Cabinet saying all the requirements regarding the FATF have been fulfilled. Pakistan will move from grey to white list once the FATF team will come to Pakistan to verify things.

The minister said this will not only promote a business climate but also promote the international standing of Pakistan. The prime minister also commended the efforts of Foreign Minister Bilawal and Minister of State for External Affairs, Hina Khar and her team for their hard work and dedication in resolving the FATF issue.

He said we have played a key role in legislating for the FATF. All the concerned ministries especially the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of External Affairs played an important role in this regard. Of course, this is the result of joint efforts.

He said the chief of army staff also set up a Corps Cell at the General Headquarters in 2019, which played a vital role in coordinating the efforts of all ministries and departments.

The Cabinet paid full tribute to all the concerned agencies as this achievement could not have been achieved without their joint efforts.

The issue of supply and demand of urea fertilizer in the country was also discussed in the cabinet. The Minister of Industries and Production briefed the Cabinet on all the details. The prime minister directed all the concerned authorities to take necessary steps to ensure timely supply of urea fertiliser to the farmers at affordable rates.

He said the prime minister has directed to speed up the process of acquiring urea from brotherly countries, especially from China so that there are no disruptions take place in the market.

He said due to the Ukraine war, all the supply chain of commodities sectors has been disrupted. Not only Pakistan but every country is facing these crises but our government’s priority is to make sure the availability of these commodities.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the cabinet approved the formation of a committee to review the Trade Organization Act. The federal cabinet, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Commerce, approved the reorganization of the Committee for Hearing of Appeals under Section 21 of the Trade Organization Act, 2013.

After the reorganization, the Minister of Commerce will be the convener of the three-member committee, while the Minister of Industry and Production and the Minister of Aviation and Railways will be its members.

The minister said the cabinet also reviewed the situation of the GSP+ status of Pakistan which was signed in 2013. He said GSP+ benefitted Pakistan to increase its exports. He said the Cabinet was given a detailed briefing on the importance, usefulness and important features of the GSP + facility offered to Pakistan by the European Union. The Cabinet was informed that GSP + is very useful for promoting bilateral trade between Pakistan and the European Union. Because with the introduction of GSP +, the trade volume between them increased. The Cabinet was briefed in detail about the institutional arrangements in this regard. Under GSP +, 4 clusters and 27 global conventions were identified by the European Commission in 9 priority areas. These clusters include human rights, labour rights, climate change, and governance.

He said the Cabinet was briefed on the progress made on them and the salient features of the proposed new EU GSP Scheme (2024-2034).

The Cabinet was informed that all the concerned ministers are in constant touch with the EU authorities. Furthermore, it is gratifying that all the political parties are represented in the present coalition government, so we can, by consensus, ensure the implementation of the GSP + conditions imposed on Pakistan. This will increase Pakistani exports and enable Pakistani goods to reach European markets. The previous government, in pursuit of its national interests in the national interest of Pakistan, incited enmity with the West, especially Europe, he said.

It is gratifying that the European Union has shown confidence in the current government as it is taking serious steps to improve the economic situation, he added.

The minister informed that the meeting also discussed the tough decisions being taken in the wake of the ongoing economic situation in the country. He said the PTI government knowingly avoided tough decisions and put the economy on the verge of collapse.

He said the current government was committed to reviving the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and attracting foreign investment that would help put the country on the path of progress and development.

The chief secretaries of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan briefed the Cabinet on the progress of legislation required to comply with the GSP requirements. He said that all the necessary legislation in this regard has either been completed or is nearing completion. The prime minister directed all the concerned ministers, provincial governments and ministries to contact his office for any kind of assistance to ensure compliance with the conditions of GSP, however, he said that negligence will not be tolerated. “Insha’Allah! we will surely succeed by uniting.”

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira said Indian brutalities are continuing in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He said India will not succeed to suppress the passion for freedom in the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the budget of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan has been enhanced to bring these areas at par with other areas of Pakistan.

“The Planning and Finance Divisions have revised the budgetary allocations for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and made enhancements to meet their demands and completion of the developmental projects”, Kaira said

He said rich people of the country will be taxed to provide relief to the poor.

Kaira said that the present government realizes that Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are lagging behind in development and have a lack of resources and would continue taking all possible steps to improve the living standards of the people of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.