ISLAMABAD: The cabinet on Tuesday decided to establish a centralised database to maintain record of stocks of essential food items available with the federal and provincial governments to ensure the country does not face shortage.
The cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also took several other decisions, including deferring a proposal to exempt Kartarpur (Sikhs’ religious site) project from the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and allowing transportation of Unicef trucks from Karachi port to Kabul.
“During last year’s wheat and wheat flour shortage, it came to the notice of the federal government that there was no database available to check how much of the commodity was available in the country and where, therefore the cabinet decided to maintain a database,” said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while addressing a press conference outside Parliament House after the cabinet meeting.
“With the help of the database, the government will be able to take a decision on demand and supply as well as transportation, assess prices and further strengthen cooperation between the federal and provincial governments,” he added.
Under the system the centre will have the latest information on the sale and purchase of wheat by provinces as their governments would be bound to share details of wheat stocks with the centre.
“During last year’s crisis, the centre did not know how much wheat was available with the Sindh government,” the minister said.
Earlier, the cabinet members also welcomed the inclusion of Shaukat Tareen as finance minister.
Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet, while keeping in view the requests of the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNMA) in Afghanistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), allowed transportation of a few containers from Karachi to Kabul.
He said to ensure effective implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 regarding control of the export of goods, technology and instruments related to nuclear and biological weapons, and enforcement of the government’s commitment to check the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the cabinet approved the delegation of some powers to the Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) so as to enable it to make timely decisions in this regard.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Khan stressed for early completion of the process of electronic voting machine and the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.
The meeting was briefed about the progress made so far in that respect.
Mr Khan apprised the cabinet of the progress on negotiations with the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
The cabinet also approved signing of MoU with Iran for establishing markets on Pakistan-Iran border.
For bringing about administrative improvement in the Federal Medical Teaching Institutions and allied teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Teaching Institute Ordinance 2020 had already been enforced in various institutions.
These included Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, National Institute of Child Health Karachi, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Karachi and Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
The cabinet also approved the appointment of the board of governors of institutions. Members of the board of governors for National Institute of Child Health Karachi included Dr Ahsan Rabbani, Prof Dr Waseem Qazi and Amir A. Allahwana.
The board members for National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Karachi included Dr Hasnat Mohammad Sharif, Justice Sarmad J. Usmani and Hassan Aziz Bilgarami.
Members of the board of governors for Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Karachi included Dr Imtiaz A. Hashmi and Prof S. Tipu Sultan.
Muzammail Rasheed has been appointed as member of the board for PIMS Islamabad.
The cabinet also gave a go-ahead to the appointments of Khalid Hamid as chief executive of the National Insurance Company and Zaheer Abbas as managing director Pakistan Baitul Mal.
The cabinet also granted its approval for inclusion of representatives of consumers in the board of directors of 10 power distributing companies. These representatives would be from the civil society.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2021