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ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee has approved, in principle, a technical supplementary grant of 150 million dollars for purchase of COVID-19 vaccine.

The approval was given at a meeting of the ECC, chaired by Adviser on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in Islamabad today (Friday).

The meeting was informed that it will be the first phase of procurement and the amount of vaccine will suffice for the most vulnerable five percent of population which are health workers and the population above the age of 65 years.

It briefed that around 10 million people would be provided a vaccine cover under the above arrangement.

The Committee further directed the Ministry of National Health Services to discuss the proposal with World Bank and other donors in coordination with Economic Affairs Division so that they could assist in providing financial facility for the procurement of the vaccine during the first phase.

The forum also directed the Ministry of National Health Services to draw a holistic proposal regarding the pricing and risk mitigation mechanism for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine for provision on a wider scale, in consultation with the relevant stake holders.

ECC approved the request of the Economic Affairs Division to proceed with the formal request for availing the G-20 Debt Relief for the extended period i.e. January-June 2021; approval of the Federal Cabinet would be required for signing of the bilateral debt service suspension agreements.

ECC also approved two technical supplementary grants for "Initiating the Process of Retrenchment of Pakistan Steel Mills Employees for an amount over 19.6 billion and Prime Minister's Special Package to Implement SKILLS FOR ALL Strategy as Catalyst for TVET Sector Development in Pakistan for rupees 500 million.

Over rupees 689 million were also approved as budget re-appropriation for National Information Technology Board for fulfilling its various requirements during the meeting.

ECC was also briefed on the status of wheat import through Trade Corporation of Pakistan.