ISLAMBAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved removal of five percent regulatory duty (RD) on import of cotton yarn to increase value-added exports, however, the Karachi Transformation Plan proposal was put off till the next meeting for a detailed discussion.

The ECC meeting presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, on Wednesday gave approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Commerce for removal of five percent regulatory duty on import of cotton yarn till 30th June, 2021, following a detailed discussion.

On another proposal of the Ministry of Commerce to re-consider the earlier decision taken by the ECC dated 19 October 2020 regarding procedure for registration under concessionary regime of electricity, RLNG and gas in export-oriented sectors (erstwhile zero-rated sectors), the meeting directed to maintain status quo with a condition that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) may register new manufacturers or exporters in five export-oriented sectors (erstwhile five zero-rated sectors) in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce till June, 2021.

On the request of the Communication Division for conversion of the National Highways Authority (NHA) loans into government grant or grant a waiver for a much-needed fiscal space, the ECC directed to constitute a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar with SAPM Nadeem Babar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Secretary Finance and Secretary Communications as members to prepare a holistic proposal suggesting revenue generation roadmap for the NHA within a month.

A detailed presentation was made before the forum to remodel the NHA as a self-sustaining and performance-based organisation.

The NHA was also granted a one-month moratorium to work out details and present recommendations regarding financial viability of the NHA before the forum.

The ECC recommended a summary presented by the Industries and Production Division to approve release of funds to the PSM for payment in lieu of gas supply to the SSGC through a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG).

The meeting also approved allocation of up to 9.5 MMCFD gas from M/s PPL's Benari X-I discovery to the SSGCL.

Similarly, allocation of 10 MMCFD gas from PPL's Hadaf X-I to SSGCL was also approved during the meeting.

After the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs raised the matter of priority berthing for wheat and sugar, the ECC directed the Logistics Committee to ensure berthing of wheat and sugar vessels on priority by ensuring that other imports are not affected.

The ECC also accorded approval to allocation of additional funds for maintenance of the Islamabad High Court building and judges' residences through the TSG as requested by the Ministry of Housing and Works.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Production and Industries Hammad Azhar, Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, and Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain also participated in the meeting. State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir joined the meeting through video link.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020


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