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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has given approval to allocation of another 38 MMCFD gas from three (3) new wells REHMAN 6, 7 and 8 to M/s SSGCL, contingent to all regulatory approvals.

The ECC meeting presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Wednesday, on a proposal moved by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) after giving approval for allocation of gas subject to all the regulatory approvals, decided that the price of gas will be as per the applicable petroleum policy (the gas will be provided as per availability in the winter months).

An official said that the shortage of gas was expected to be severe in this winter owing to ever-widening demand-supply gap.

The meeting of the ECC also granted approval to the renewal of the contract with Iran for the purchase, of 104MW of electricity subject to vetting by the Ministry of Law and Justice and the contract, if approved by the Law Ministry, would be valid till 31st December 2021.

On a summary of the Ministry of Information, Technology and Telecom, in order to facilitate the telecom sector by the waiver of certain taxes, the ECC decided that the proposal may be approved in principle.

However, the meeting further directed that a subcommittee may be constituted consisting of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Minister for Industries and Production, and Adviser Commerce, to prepare a modified proposal in view of the FBR’s response for final approval.

An official said FBR did not support the proposal because of tax collection target.

The ECC approved the Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs109.47 million for the Ministry of Defence for the survey of the coastal areas.

The amount was surrendered by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs as the Pakistan Army has offered to assist in the survey.

On a summary of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for the waiver of demurrage charges on Afghan Transit Cargo/Afghan bound containers stranded at Karachi ports, the ECC directed that the same committee that has been engaged with the terminal operators should again negotiate with the operators to reach an amicable solution to the issue.

Earlier, the government decided to ask the terminal operators to waive of 75 percent of the demurrage charges on Afghan-Transit containers/cargo landing at ports from 22nd March to 30th September 2020 (Covid-19 period) including refund of demurrage charges already recovered from such importers of Afghan-bound transit container/cargoes.

The Minister for Maritime Affairs was advised to approach their principals for approval of 75 percent of demurrage charges by 5-10-2020.

After the terminal operators showed their inability to accede to the ministry’s request, the matter was brought to the ECC for guidance. Sources said the meeting was very brief after ECC members discovered that one of their colleagues who attended Monday’s meeting was tested COVID positive.

The ECC meeting was attended by the Minister for Railways, the SAPM on Petroleum, Adviser Commerce, Adviser to Prime Minister on Revenue, and Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020