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Cabinet okays repurposing of Rs5b aid to Afghanistan

07 Apr, 2022
The prime minister of Pakistan had announced Rs5 billion assistance for Afghanistan (in-kind) in October 2021. Reuters/ File
The prime minister of Pakistan had announced Rs5 billion assistance for Afghanistan (in-kind) in October 2021. Reuters/ File

The federal cabinet has approved remodeled or repurposed use of Rs5 billion assistance to Afghanistan.

Sources said that the federal cabinet on the summary of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has approved repurposing of Rs5 billion assistance to Afghanistan.

The prime minister of Pakistan had announced Rs5 billion assistance for Afghanistan (in-kind) in October 2021.

Consequently, during the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) First Apex Committee meeting held on November 22, 2021, approved 50,000 metric tonnes wheat as well as Rs0.5 billion in lifesaving medicines and shelters/clothing by the NDMA in winter.

Sources said that summaries for the above-mentioned assistance were processed by respective ministries/departments and approved by the Cabinet.

However, during the fourth AICC Apex Committee meeting held on February 14, 2022, that the Rs5 billion assistance will be re-purposed in view of the need assessment of humanitarian requirements in Afghanistan as Rs0.67 billion for already provided quantity of wheat to Afghanistan (6,627 MT) by the Ministry of NFSR&C.

Similarly, Rs0.5bn for lifesaving medicines by the Ministry of NHSR&C and out of the remaining amount of Rs3.83 billion, Rs1 billion will be utilized for Allama Iqbal Scholarships for Afghan students by HEC and Rs2.83 billion for functioning/maintenance/equipment/salaries of three Pakistani hospitals in Afghanistan.

Forgoing in view, approval of the Federal Cabinet is solicited for re-purpose of Rs2.83 billion to Ministry of NHSR&C for functioning/maintenance/equipment/salaries of three Pakistani hospitals in Afghanistan.

The mode and mechanism of providing this assistance to the Afghan government will be worked out under the advice and guidance of the AICC and shall be submitted to the government for approval in due course.

This story was first published in Business Recorder on April 7, 2022.