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Import costs are rising

ISLAMABAD: Fawad Chaudhary, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, has indicated that the key reason for the increase in import bill is because the country purchased a US$2 billion coronavirus vaccine, adding that inflation in the country is dropping.

Fawad Chaudhary, speaking to the media alongside Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib following the prime minister’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, said the federal cabinet was notified on Tuesday that omicron instances in the country are growing as the virus has begun to spread.

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The minister said that the Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms and head of the NCOC and Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health briefed the cabinet about the corona situation in the country.

The meeting was informed that it seems omicron has started reaching in Pakistan and corona cases are increasing, said the minister for information, adding that the reason behind the increase in the country’s import was US$2 billion corona vaccine import.

The minister said inflation is showing a declining trend as prices of onion, potato and other essentials commodities have declined in December end 2021 as compared to the same period a year ago; however, he added chilli powder price has increased during the period under review. The minister also flayed the Sindh government and stated that despite tall claims, the provincial government did not import corona vaccine and the federal government provided Rs111 billion additional to Sindh government for the vaccine and Ehsaas programme. He said that the Punjab government has been injecting Rs400 billion in the health cards, whereas, the Sindh government has not shown any interest. The minister said that the health cards would be for families. He underlined the need for private-public partnership in the health sector.

He said that the federal cabinet also directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to take measures for providing EVM to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and procure EVMs for local government election in the Islamabad Capital Territory. The minister said that the federal government has also approved submission in the National Assembly contingent liabilities statement associated with the Supplementary Finance Bill.

The federal cabinet also approved appointment of Nadar Mumtaz Warriach as chairman Karachi Ports Trust, and reorganization of the Pakistan Tobacco Board was also approved.

The federal cabinet also approved an agreement between the CPEC Authority, Pakistan and the Ministry of Climate Change, China regarding 3,000 solar power systems for use of residents in Gwadar. Fawad Chaudhary said that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s finding into the foreign funding case has vindicated the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and now the PTI wanted that the ECP should present other political parties cases to the scrutiny committee.

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He alleged that the PML-N chief has used his party’s account for money laundering.

Farrukh Habib said that neither the PML-N nor the PPP has provided record of Rs45 Crore and Rs35 Crore, respectively, received in their accounts, while these parties did not disclose some of their accounts in the assets filed with the ECP.

Fawad Chaudhary said that the PTI is being funded through its workers spread all over the world and out of 27 accounts of the party, eight bank accounts are non-functional and four accounts were not of the party.

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