June 10, 2020: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet Wednesday approved technical supplementary grants of billions of rupees for various ministries and division.
The committee, the meeting of which was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh approved technical supplementary grant of Rs 3485 million for Ministry of Foreign Affairs for meeting the costs of the running of the foreign missions.
The committee also approved Rs 5.471 million for Ministry of Law & Justice to pay the annual membership fee of different organizations whereas Rs 250 million have been approved for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to meet its liabilities towards government of Punjab, according to press statement issued by the Finance Ministry.
The cabinet committee also approved Rs168.151 million for Ministry of Interior for smooth working of the peacekeeping missions; Rs18.33 million for the privatization commission to meet its expenditure under various heads; Rs 7.248 million for Ministry of National Health services, Regulations and coordination for expanded program on immunization and Rs79 million were given to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to
meets its various expenditures.
The ECC approved Rs 5 billion for the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Rs 8.4 billion to BISP ( the amount was transferred by Govt. of Punjab for onward transfer to BISP beneficiaries in Punjab through Ehsaas program).
An amount of Rs 500 million supplementary grants were approved for the ICT Administration for completing two projects; Rs 450 million to ICT Administration for Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Program; and Rs3369.62 million for Establishment Division to pay arrears of group Insurance of non-gazetted employees .
In order to pay the risk allowance, equal to one pay to all health care workers performing duties related to COVID-19 in the federal government, ECC approved an amount of Rs 480.556 million (financial impact from 1st April 2020 to 30th July 2020) to meet the requirement.
The amount would be provided out of Rs 50 billion of the Prime Minister’s Fiscal stimulus Package through technical supplementary grant. The amount would be paid to 3432 employees of 10 health institutions of the federal government. The situation will be reviewed after 4 months for the continuity of the allowance.
ECC after reviewing the situation of Urea availability in the country and for making available for the upcoming sowing season, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of the Minister for Industries with representatives from National Food Security, Petroleum and Finance Division to review and recommend the appropriate Variable Contribution Margin.
On the earlier instructions of the ECC for the presentation of a report on wheat procurement by Provinces and PASSCO, ECC was briefed that so far PASSCO and Provincial Food Departments have procured a quantity of 6.5 million tons or 80% out of the assigned target of 8.25 million tons.
The PASSCO and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would continue procurement till end June 2020, the statement added.
On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, ECC directed that Provincial Food Departments of KP and Balochistan to achieve their procurement targets as early as possible and Law Enforcement Agencies of the provinces to be sensitive against hoarding and keeping a vigilant check on price hike of flour and wheat.
In order to provide relief to small and medium enterprises during the ongoing pandemic situation, ECC approved the change in key terms of the Kamyab Jawan Program.
Now instead of two tiers (100,000 to 0.5 mill and 0.5 million to 5 million) there will be three tiers of the loans i.e. Rs. 100,000 to 1 million, Rs 1 million to 10 million, Rs 10 million to 25 million.
Tier 1 loans would be on the personal guarantee of the borrower whereas T2 and T3 loans would be as per bank’s own credit policy.
The government would bear credit losses for principal portion only on the disbursed portfolios of the banks for T1 up to 50%. T2 up to20%, T3 up to 10% and the executing agencies shall be all commercial banks.
Loan pricing was also changed for all three tiers (3%,4%, 5% respectively, bank pricing shall be KIBOR+400 BPS for all three tiers), the statement added.
ECC also approved US$ 10.9 million for capital increase in Bangladesh operations of National Bank of Pakistan and for meeting the minimum capital requirements prescribed by the Central Bank of Bangladesh for the year 2019 and to create some cushion in equity for 2020. The proposal was submitted by Finance Division.
Electric Vehicle policy for 2-3 wheelers and Heavy Commercial Vehicles was also approved by the ECC. The policy was proposed by Ministry of Industries after consultation with various stakeholders from Engineering Development Board, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of science and Technology and others.
ECC also approved supply of 10,000 MT of wheat to World Food Program for Emergency Relief Operations and allowed import of wheat by the private sector for unlimited period after waiving different taxes and duties.
The committee also directed to remove restrictions on the movement of wheat/ flour within the country and banned exports till next recommendations, the statement concluded.