February 19, 2021 (MLN): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Atif Bokhari participated in the meeting.
Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary before ECC regarding revision of subsidized prices of essential commodities by the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan, in accordance with the earlier directive of ECC dated 28 January, 2021. Secretary, M/o Industries and Production presented various proposals to rationalize prices of wheat flour, sugar and ghee in view of continuous fluctuations in international commodity prices. After detailed discussion, the ECC approved only partial rationalisation and directed to provide maximum relief to the consumers despite significant price differential between subsidized price offered by the USCs and the prevailing prices in the domestic markets. This is in compliance with the Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020 to provide basic commodities at affordable rates through a network of Utility Stores across Pakistan.
ECC also approved another summary by the Ministry of Industries and Production for outstanding payment to M/s Ocean Wide Shipping Services, amounting to USD 0.58 million from Pakistan Steel Mills to fulfill a contractual obligation for transportation of coal during the year 2010.
Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication presented a summary regarding taxation issues of the Telecom Sector. The ECC had earlier constituted a sub-committee dated 20 Oct, 2020, under the Chairmanship of the Adviser to the PM Dr. Ishrat Hussain, for due deliberation. The sub-committee presented its recommendations before ECC. The Committee approved these recommendations as endorsed by FBR.
The ECC considered a summary by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) regarding tax on payments to the offshore supply contractor to meet the contractual obligation. The ECC established a sub-committee comprising SAPM on Petroleum, Secretary Law Division, Secretary Power Division and FBR with a direction to evaluate the proposal and present workable recommendations before the forum for consideration.
Ministry of Energy presented another summary about revocation of Neelum Jhelum (NJ) surcharge @ Rs.0.10 per KWH electricity consumers. The ECC considered and approved the revocation of Neelum Jhelum surcharge (with immediate effect).
Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research placed a summary before ECC regarding a mechanism for disbursement of subsidies in line with the Prime Minister’s Fiscal Package for Agriculture in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. The summary was approved by the ECC for timely disbursements of subsidies to the Provinces by the M/o NFS&R subject to clearance by the Finance Division.
The ECC also considered and approved a summary regarding Government’s sovereign guarantee for a PSDP project titled National Electronics Complex of Pakistan (NECOP, executed by National Engineering and Scientific Commission.
Following Technical Supplementary Grants were also approved:
- Rs. 550 million for Special Communications Organization (SCO) from Ministry of Information and Technology during the FY 2020-21.
- Rs. 200 million were approved (out of total allocation of RS. 362.239 million) to Special Technology Zones (STZA) during the current financial year.
- Rs. 109 million to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB) to clear outstanding Bills related to media campaigns on behalf of Ehsaas Program during FY 2019-20.