ISLAMABAD: The cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Friday approved the continuation of untargeted subsidies on five essential food items at outlets in utility stores for just one month – January 2022.
The decision was taken at an ECC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.
December 31, 2021 was the deadline for the untargeted subsidy on wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, pulses and rice effective July 1, 2021.
The ECC approved a proposal from the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NAPHDA) for the revision of customer pricing and mark-up subsidy period under Level I of the government’s low-cost housing program. and the inclusion of housing finance companies in the housing finance program. The meeting ordered that there should be no direct involvement of commercial banks in NAPHDA projects.
The meeting approved a proposal from the State Bank of Pakistan on incentives for foreign exchange companies against remitting currencies to the interbank market.
ECC approved Rs 8 billion funds from the government for the Sialkot (Sambrial) -Kharian highway project under the Public Sector Development Program – Rs 4 billion as initial financing of the deficit of viability (VGF) and 4 billion rupees for the overhead costs of the project.
The ECC approved a summary from the Ministry of Industry regarding the gas rate for the operations of SNGPL-based factories – Fatima Fertilizer and Agritech – from October 2021 to January 2022, and to maintain the rate at Rs839 per unit ( million British thermal units).
The meeting approved the issuance of a government sovereign guarantee for the National Commission for Engineering and Science (NECOP) project valued at $ 5.822 million for Lot IV and $ 26.154 million. dollars for Lot V in favor of China Electronics Technology Group, Beijing, to repay the loan in seven years, including the two-year grace period.
ECC approved Energy Ministry summary for issuance of Rs 24.188 billion sovereign guarantee to Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd and a syndicate of two banks led by United Bank Limited (UBL) for the remaining term of the loan and comfort letter to the lending banks for a new financing arrangement for the LNG-II pipeline infrastructure development project.
The ECC approved a summary submitted by the Ministry of Communication for an extension of the deadline for the National Highway Authority (NHA) to prepare a commercially viable business plan until June 2022 with the same conditions regarding the cash development loan than those decided by the federal cabinet.
The restructuring of the debt of the NHA will be linked to the outcome of the business plan. The ECC ordered the department to submit a regular monthly progress report and prepare the business plan well in advance of the deadline.
The aviation division submitted a summary of the financial challenges of the Roosevelt Hotel (RHC), New York, and PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL) request for a renewal in principal amount of $ 142 million as well as mark-up payments by the National Bank of Pakistan. for a further period of two years ending on December 31, 2024.
The meeting was informed that PIA-IL is unable to pay the loan principal amount and mark-up payments on behalf of RHC due to its closure / suspension. The ECC discussed and approved the proposal with a directive for the aviation division to prepare a roadmap for a permanent solution to the problem.
The ECC approved, in principle, a summary from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the overall transition of Libor to alternative benchmarks with a directive that benchmarks to be adopted in the future be submitted to the ECC for approval.
The meeting approved an additional technical grant (TSG) worth Rs 90 million (Chinese grant) for a 1.2 MGD reverse osmosis desalination plant in Gwadar. He also approved a TSG worth Rs 14.621m for the purchase of spare parts for the helicopter maintained by Sindh Rangers, and another TSG for the release of Rs431.880m of funds for the letter of implementation. Project work from Frontier Corps HQ (south), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dera Ismail Khan, funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Pakistan.
The ECC has approved a TSG worth Rs751.486m in favor of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division).
The meeting advised the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination to review its budget and the demand is expected to be met by reallocating funds in the budget for life-saving medicines for the Afghan people.
The ECC reviewed and approved a summary submitted by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for granting flexibility to the 19 PNSC subsidiaries from the applicability of public sector companies (Corporate Governance Rules).
The ECC meeting was attended by Minister of National Food Security Fakhar Imam, Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister of Industry Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister of Energy Hammad Azhar , Minister of Privatization Muhammedmian Soomro, Minister of Railways Azam Swati, Minister of Maritime Affairs. Ali Zaidi and the federal secretaries.
Posted in Dawn, January 1, 2022