With hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the superfloods across the country, the Federal Cabinet’s Financial Decisions Forum on Wednesday approved an emergency allocation of Rs. 10 billion for the National Disaster Management Agency to procure relief supplies.
This was decided on Wednesday at a meeting of the Federal Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (EWK). The meeting was moderated by Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who took part virtually from her stay in the USA. Other participants in the meeting included German Trade Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, German Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, German Minister for Industry and Production Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmmod, German Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Abdul Qadir Patel, former Prime Minister, MNA/PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Pasha Aisha Ghous Pasha, Prime Minister’s Coordinator for Economy Azhar Kayani, Chairmen of NDMA, FBR, Federal Secretaries and other senior officials attended the meeting.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) detailed the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan and the role the agency is playing in providing immediate relief to flood victims.
The agency said it had an immediate procedure in place to procure supplies worth Rs. 2.4 crore.
However, due to the colossal extent of the damage, the agency has had to increase the amount of relief supplies and has placed orders to procure items at a total cost of Rs.7113 crore.
With the government allocating Rs 8 billion to the NDMA for procurement and logistics costs for supplies – domestic and sent from friendly countries – the changing scenario meant the cost of mere procurement of goods had so far blown over Rs 9.5 billion.
In this regard, the ECC approved an allocation of Rs. 10 crore for the Authority. The committee also directed Treasury to release half of it immediately.
Other imports deleted
The ECC also considered a summary by the Department of Commerce on clearing shipments of imported goods in light of the government’s decision to allow all such imports upon payment of a surcharge.
The forum approved the import of goods that had arrived by August 18 under the approved mechanism.
Imports of wheat suspended by Gwadar
A request from the National Ministry of Food Security to import wheat via the seaport of Gwadar has been postponed by the ECC.
Flood survey completed by October 15th
Meanwhile, German Economy Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq chaired the first meeting of the steering committee to coordinate international aid for flood relief efforts.
The meeting discussed mapping humanitarian aid and relief efforts.
Sadiq said the damage relief report is expected to be ready by October 15 and will provide a full picture of the overall damage inflicted on the country.
He highlighted the assistance needed immediately – including food, medicine, bed nets, shelter and other items – and said the country still needs pledges from the international community for phases of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
“We need more support for the second and third phases of rehabilitation and reconstruction as the devastation is immeasurable,” Sadiq said.
He encouraged international development partners to support the development of climate-resilient infrastructure for the long-term benefit of the country.
International development partners recognized the importance of creating a platform for more effective coordination with government and decided to hold a follow-up for efficient coordination next week.
The steering committee was formed under the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to promote better coordination between the government and international development partners to provide effective international assistance to the flood-affected areas.
Representatives from the United Nations, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Union (EU), World Bank (WB), USAID, Department of State, Department of Health, BISP, Department of Treasury, NDMA and OCHA attended, as well as senior executives EAD employees.