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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) has proposed inclusion of Director General, BISP in the Board of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) as the Finance Ministry is about to release Rs 40 billion as subsidy, official sources told Business Recorder.

The policy affairs of Utility Stores Corporation (USC), a public sector Company, are managed through a Board of Directors (BoD). At present, the total numbers of Directors on USC BoD is 10 who were notified by the Ministry of Industries and Production, on the basis of two decisions of the Cabinet, taken on November 1, 2018, and March 10, 2020.

USC mainly depends on the government releases in the form of funds, loans or guarantees with clear stipulations. It is the responsibility of USC, BoD to ensure proper utilization of finances in line with the policy framework.

Federal Government has approved total grant ofRs.71 billion for USC, since, December, 2019, on account of subsidy and procurement of essential commodities. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), had released Rs. 21 billion to USC, out of Rs. 71 billion while, Finance Division has released Rs. 10 billion out of Rs. 50 billion.

The case for release of remaining Rs. 40 billion by the Finance Division is under process. The Joint Secretary (Corporate Finance) is the representative of Finance Division, at USC-Board, as an Ex-Officio Director. However, there is no representation of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) or the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) at USC Board, to oversee the utilization of transferred funds.

Therefore, representation of PASS Division, at USC-Board, is necessary in order to identify deserving people for targeted subsidy with the help of database maintained by BISP. The proposed measure would also help USC in expediting the automation of processes of the organization emulating the experience of BISP.

In this regard, the MoI&P's proposal was shared with PASS and Finance Divisions, to solicit views/comments. The PASS Division has recommended the nomination of Director General (NSER), BISP as an Ex-officio Director at USC Board. The Finance Division has conveyed that their views/comments in the matter are not required. Further Zaheer Baig, an Independent Director on USC-BoD, has tendered his resignation.

Keeping in view the foregoing, it is proposed that the Federal Government, being the nominating authority, in terms of Section 165(1) of Companies Act, 2017, may like to accept the resignation dated 03-08-2020, in respect of Zaheer Baig, an Independent Director at Board of Directors of USC; and Director General (NSER), BISP may be nominated as an Ex-Officio Director at the Board of Directors of USC.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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