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 here at the Cabinet Division.
ECC considered and approved 2 technical supplementary grants (TSGs) for the Ministry of Interior amounting to Rs.111 million for clearing various liabilities of the ICT administration. Two other TSGs were approved for Islamabad High Court (Rs.102 million) and National Heritage & Culture Division (Rs8.5 million) for various expenditures.
ECC also granted that waiver of guarantee fee on foreign loans of K2/K3 projects. According to a report prepared by PAEC and EAD, there will be a benefit of Rs.0.07/KWh to the general public by the waiver of this fee.
For the centralized procurement of the vaccines under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), ECC approved the shifting of Federal EPI from development to revenue expenditure with an allocation of Rs.9, 903.195 million through TSG for vaccine procurement in CFY to avoid interruption in the immunization program. Now the vaccine shall be procured by the Federal EPI on behalf of the provincial governments and later reimbursement shall be made by Punjab and Sindh government and deduction at source from the shares of KP and Balochistan for their respective vaccine shares will be made.
In order to increase the share of manmade fibers (MMF) in the textile goods for better unit prices in the international markets, product diversification and most importantly, value addition, the Additional Customs Duty (ACDs) and Regulatory Duty (RDs) on selected HS codes of textile sector was allowed to be removed. The total revenue impact of these exemptions will be Rs. 533 million.
ECC allowed notifying the Kharlachi Border Crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a rebatable border point for export of goods to Afghanistan. Earlier the opening of this border point helped in the release of congested transit trucks at the Afghan border due to Covid-19 restrictions.
ECC allowed the exemption from re-lending of the funds for Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19 to cover the country’s requirements for 12 months through emergency operations. In order to administer the program Asian Development Bank shall provide a loan of US$ 100 million and an additional US$ 5 million will be from the government of Norway as a grant administered by ADB. ADB has already signed a loan agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to finance the said project.
Two separate summaries were presented in the ECC today from the Ministry of Industries and Production for the disbursement of salaries of the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills and for clearing the liabilities of the retired employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills who have not approached the Court (Sindh High Court). ECC approved an amount of Rs. 3850 million due to the employees of PSM for the financial year 2020-21 to be disbursed every month. However, on the second summary, though the ECC agreed in principle that the dues to the retired non- litigant employees should be paid, the forum decided to seek a detailed report from the Ministry of Industries and Production on the nature of liabilities due to PSM on account of retirement dues, the liabilities that will accrue as a result of the retrenchment plan and other expenditures on account of utilities or any other charges due on PSM. It is pertinent to mention that the forum was briefed that earlier this month the retired employees of the PSM were already paid Rs. 12.741 billion as retirement dues but the Court has asked to pay the non-litigant retired employees as well that will further add Rs.11.68 billion to the expenditure of the Federal government.