Economic Coordination Committee meeting

Islamabad, June 17, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet in its meeting chaired by the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Wednesday considered and approved a number of proposals from various ministries. The meeting at the outset on a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Defence approved issuance of Sovereign Guarantee for procurement of 6 Maritime Patrol Vessels(MPVs) for Pakistan Maritime Security Agency(PSMA) on soft loan basis at a cost of Rs.13,871 million (USD 135 million).

EAD, Finance Division and State Bank will now take measures for issuance of guarantee to M/s China Shipbuilding and Trading Company Ltd (CSTC), the firm which was declared successful by the Defence Production Division after international tendering for procurement of the six MPVs.

The ECC on a proposal from Ministry of Commerce approved enhancement of Regulatory Duty on import of sugar from 20% to 40% and on a similar proposal from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, it allowed enhancement in regulatory duty on import of wheat from 25% to 40%.

The decision for increase in has been taken in line with demand of the farmers’ community and availability of abundant stocks of these commodities in the country. The Chair while according the approval made the observation that concerned ministries/authorities must keep an eye on the price trend of both the commodities in the market. The Chair also called upon sugar millers to clear dues of the sugarcane farmers on priority.

On another proposal submitted by the Ministry of Food Security, the ECC approved extension in time period for export of wheat and wheat flour (Aata) for the provinces of Sindh and Punjab up to 31st July 2015. It may be mentioned that the ECC in its meeting in January 2015 had allowed the provinces of Punjab and Sindh to export a total of 1.2 million tons of wheat and later on 9thFebruary also allowed export of wheat flour (aata).

The ECC in its meeting on 19th of April had fixed 30th April as the date for export of wheat by Sindh and 15th May for Punjab. However in view of the request by provincial food departments and Pakistan Flour Mills Association, the period for export has now been extended to 31st July with the instructions that export process be completed within 30 days beyond this date.

On a proposal from the Privatization Commission, the Chair with the consensus of the house approved an amount of Rs.64 million for payment of two months (April-May 2015) salaries to the employees of the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory. On another proposal from the Privatization Commission, the ECC approved payment of two months (January-February 2015) salaries to the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills(PSM) and also asked PSM to give a clear road map regarding its working so that a decision about its future status could be made accordingly.

On a proposal from the Ministry of Water and Power regarding recovery of outstanding amounts and Anti-Theft Campaign in DISCOs, the ECC decided that all cases of non-payment of dues during the period of three years proceeding 1st July 2012, would be handed over to NAB for recovery.

However, the ECC also approved package of incentives for those who paid their dues. Under this package the defaulters who pay full amount up to July 31, they will be given 30% rebate. 25% rebate will be allowed if they pay the full amount in August and 20% rebate in case they make the payment in the month of September 2015. The ECC also approved 5% reward for the staff concerned for recovery of receivables of more than three years.

Among other decisions, the ECC approved the power purchase agreement for short term IPPS (STIPPS) in order to utilize the existing available generation capacity which is around 150 MW. The Finance Minister appreciated efforts of Ministry of Water and Power regarding operationalization of Central Power Purchasing Agency, Guarantee ltd. (CPPA-G) which was pending for more than 10 years. That operationalization is part of power sector reforms which brings transparency in the system.

Taking note that agriculture is major source of livelihood in Baluchistan and in order to bring the farming community at par with other farming communities of the country, ECC approved to continue the subsidy for period of two year from 01-12-2014 to 31-12-2016 for agri-consumers of Baluchistan.

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