ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed the Cabinet to ban the exports of all edible items which are consumed by the common man in the wake of current lockdown.

The decision was made during a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister on Tuesday. The decision will be reviewed after two weeks.

While approving relief packages worth Rs.75 billion, in the first phase for daily wage earners, Prime Minister Khan directed SAPM for Social Welfare and Minister for Industries to devise a comprehensive mechanism for providing relief. The federal government on Tuesday also approved assistance package for healthcare workers fighting against COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines across the country.

Any healthcare worker, who dies while performing duties related to COVID-19 shall be entitled to the same package as is applicable to the government servants in cases of security-related deaths contained in the Shuhadaa Package. It will be applicable in the domain of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Three-week time extension given to Inquiry Commission

The cabinet also approved the request of the Inquiry Commission, probing into increase in sugar prices, to extend the time for submission of the report by three weeks. The prime minister, in his remarks, said the government had planned to offer state-owned land located in major cities to the overseas Pakistanis in order to generate much need financial resources.

He also directed all the ministries to expedite setting up of think-tanks comprising area experts and professionals in the ministries in order to bring about qualitative improvement in their overall performance and output. The cabinet ratified the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee taken in its meetings held on April 22 and 27.

The cabinet ratified the recommendations of the CCLC (Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases) made in its meeting on April 27.

Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafiz Shaikh briefed the cabinet about the progress made in regulating the affairs of Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP).

The cabinet approved the appointment of Mrs Shaista Bano Gillani as acting Chairperson of CPP.

It approved, in principle, “Netting of Financial Contracts Bill, 2020” to remove any uncertainty in enforcing the netting rights in case of a termination event, bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, limit the power of the liquidators to prevent any cherry picking of qualified financial contracts/transactions, which fall under the ambit of netting provisions, ad allow financial collateral arrangements under such netting rights.

Once the law is enforced the qualified financial contracts will always be settled on the basis of “netting” in the presence of the netting arrangement. The cabinet approved a proposal to notify that all the companies supplying electricity or gas through distribution or transmission line should be members of a Credit Bureau and to furnish information in accordance with the Credit Bureau Act, 2015

While approving allocation for a grant-in-aid from the federal government for the journalists and journalistic bodies, especially press clubs, the cabinet tasked Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant to PM for Information Lt. Gen. (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa to finalize procedure / standard operating procedures for disbursement of the grant to the deserving journalists and journalistic bodies.

The cabinet approved the restructuring of the Board of Directors of Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO). Aftab Hussain (Sindh), Abdul Hadi Shah (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and Ms Bushra Naz Malik (Punjab/ Women Representative) were approved as members on the PARCO Board.

It also approved the nomination of director against the casual vacancies of the Board of Directors of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, and Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority. The cabinet approved the modalities for the export of chloroquine by importers in possession of raw material. Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza briefed the cabinet about the latest situation of COVID-19. Dr Zafar said the package ranges from 3 million to 10 million rupees depending on job grade in addition to other benefits including official residence and hundred percent pensions to the family of the deceased.