ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has decided to relax Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules to approve procurement of novel coronavirus vaccine.
The decision was taken in the weekly meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan who was briefed on the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country and the scheduled reopening of educational institutions in three phases.
Following the federal cabinet approval, there will be no need to fulfil the tender requirement to secure the vaccine, which will be procured from any of the six companies registered with the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).
The decision to purchase the vaccine from any of the six companies registered with the NHS ministry on a single-bid basis was taken on humanitarian grounds.
The PPRA rules were relaxed because some cabinet members were worried by conditions to make purchase on a single-bid basis. “They were concerned with the use of the word ‘may’ instead of the word ‘shall’ in many places and believed that it could become a fit case for NAB (National Accountability Bureau) inquiry,” a minister told.
But the federal law minister explained that it was an old legal practice and the word ‘may’, in many cases, was considered ‘shall’. Farogh Naseem said there was nothing to worry about and relaxation could be given in PPRA rules.
Last month, Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine procurement would begin in the first quarter of 2021. It may be added here that the federal cabinet has approved $150 million for the purchase.