The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved payment of $11.6 million compensation package for the affected Chinese nationals of Dasu Hydropower Project incident besides, allowing export of 14 commodities to Afghanistan against Pakistan currency by adding them in Export Policy Order, 2020.
The meeting of the ECC was virtually presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, on a summary moved by the Ministry of Water Resources for compensation package for Chinese nationals affected at Dasu Hydropower Project incident.
The ECC after deliberation and considering the depth of our relationship with China approved the proposal of payment of $11.6 million as a goodwill gesture on government level.
The ECC meeting allowed the operations of the SNGPL-based plants (Fatima Fertilizer, Sheikhupura plant and Agritech) for a further two months’ post January 2022 (February and March 2022) at gas rate of Rs839/MMBTU to meet the urea requirement for the Rabbi season 2021-22.
The meeting also approved Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication summary for the constitution of advisory committee headed by the finance minister for the release of IMT/5G spectrum.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication also presented draft Policy Directive of the Pakistan Telecomm-unication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996 for renewal of Cellular License of Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz).
The ECC meeting also approved a summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce for allowing export of selected commodities to Afghanistan against Pakistan currency.
The decision to allow adding the list of 14 items in the Export Policy Order, 2020 was taken in view of the food crisis and the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. The list of items includes cereal goats, meal, pellets etc, animal & vegetable fats and oil, malt extracts, food preparation, organic chemicals, essential oils, perfumes, soaps, plastic and rubber, iron and steel, aluminium and products, wooden/fibreboard and plywood, paper and paperboard and others.
On another summary of the Commerce Ministry, the ECC approved enhancement of the quota limit for export of samples to $25,000 (twenty-five thousand) or 0.1 percent of actual export proceeds during the last financial year in US dollar per exporter per annum, by amending relevant paras of Export Policy Order, 2020.
The meeting also approved summary of the Commerce Ministry for removal of 45 percent regulatory duty (RD) on the import of Chilghoza from Afghanistan as the reduction tariff on this item will encourage the legal import of unprocessed Chilghoza for processing in the country for export and will also be instrumental in creation of jobs in the far-flung areas of the border regions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and economically backward areas of Balochistan.
The ECC also approved the Finance Division summary for engaging the services of third party to carry out the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) functions of the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP) as Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has been unable to undertake monitoring and evaluation responsibilities due to its legal status.
The ECC approved the Finance Division’s proposal after discussion with respect to resolve the issue of reversal of Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) unspent grant funds under amendment to MoU with proposal to establish a new Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) having 56 percent shareholding of FCDO through Karandaaz (unspent funds) and 44 percent shareholding of government of Pakistan, with mandate of issuance of credit guarantees against financing in SME sector.
The ECC after discussion approved technical supplementary grants of (i) Rs4 billion under the Pakistan Raises Revenue Programme (PRRP) for financial year 2021-22 for the Federal Board of Revenue, (ii) Rs5 billion in favour of Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conduct of 7th Population and Housing Census, (iii) Rs78.500 million for the projects of the ICT Administration, Islamabad by the Ministry of Interior; (iv) Rs60 million for the Ministry of Interior within sanctioned budget for purchase of spare parts for the helicopter maintained by HQs Frontier Corps, Balochistan North, (v) Rs3 million equivalent to $17,133.06 within sanctioned budget for Ministry of Interior for purchase of spare parts for helicopter maintained by the HQs Frontier Corps KP (North), (vi) re-allocation of Rs226.8 million surrendered funds for the year 2021-22 under the Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) in favour of the Interior Division for further release to the ICT Administration, (vii) Rupee cover of USD 65.00 million (equivalent to Rs11,960.0 million) to the Ministry of NHSR&C, committed by the Islamic Development Bank, to utilise the IsDB loan under IVAC Covid-19 Vaccine support for Pakistan.
This report was first published in Business Recorder on Jan 22, 2022.