December 2, 2020: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in Islamabad today.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Production and Industries Hammad Azhar, Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain also participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir joined the meeting through video link.
Ministry of Commerce presented a proposal before ECC regarding removal of 5% regulatory duty on import of cotton yarn till 30th June 2021. After detailed discussion, the Chair approved the removal of regulatory duty on import of cotton yarn to enhance value-added exports.
Ministry of Commerce submitted another summary to re-consider the earlier decision taken by ECC dated 19 Oct 2020 regarding procedure for registration under concessionary regime of electricity, RLNG and Gas in export-oriented sectors (erstwhile zero-rated sectors). After due deliberation, the Chair directed to maintain status quo with a condition that FBR may register new manufacturers or exporters in five export-oriented sectors (erstwhile five zero-rated sectors) in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce till June 2020.
Communication Division requested ECC for conversion of National Highways Authority loans into Government Grant or grant a waive-off for a much-needed fiscal space. A detailed presentation was made before the forum to remodel NHA as a self-sustaining and performance-based organization. ECC directed to constitute a sub-committee under the Chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and would include SAPM Nadeem Babar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Secretary Finance and Secretary Communications to prepare a holistic proposal suggesting revenue generation roadmap for NHA within a month. NHA was also granted a one-month moratorium to work out details and present recommendations regarding financial viability of NHA before the forum.
ECC recommended a summary presented by the Industries and Production Division to approve release of funds to PSM for payment in lieu of gas supply to SSGC through a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG).
ECC approved allocation of upto 9.5 MMCFD gas from M/s PPL’s Benari X-I discovery to SSGCL. Similarly, allocation of 10 MMCFD gas from PPL’s Hadaf X-I to SSGCL was also approved during the meeting.
Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs raised the matter of priority berthing for wheat and sugar. ECC directed the Logistics Committee to ensure berthing of wheat and sugar vessels on priority, keeping in view, that other imports are not affected.
ECC also accorded approval for allocation of additional funds for maintenance of Islamabad High Court Building and Judges Residences through TSG as requested by the Ministry of Housing and Works.
The agenda item on Karachi Transformation Plan, presented by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives was deferred to the next ECC meeting for a detailed discussion.