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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved payment of Rs89.86 billon as first installment of 40 percent to 35 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as per an agreement reached with them. The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin was presented a summary by the Power Division regarding release of first installment of payment to the IPPs. The secretary Power Division briefed the Committee about the recommendations of the sub-committee constituted during the ECC last week.

An official said the meeting approved Rs90 billion as first installment of 40 percent to the IPPs under the agreement.

The ECC approved payment of first installment to 35 IPPs out of total 47, whereas payment to the remaining 12 IPPs (under Power Policy 2002) may be withheld owing to an investigation by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The Power Division placed a summary before the ECC regarding tax on payments to the offshore supply contractors of Independent Power Producer(s) located in AJ&K.

The ECC considered and approved the summary to facilitate swift processing of such projects due to its strategic importance.

The ECC considered and approved a summary tabled by the Ministry of Industries and Production regarding exemption from duties and taxes for import of medical oxygen, oxygen gas cylinder and cryogenic tanks by oxygen concentrators/Generators/ manufacturing plants under respective harmonised system (HS) codes for a period of 180 days to cope with the increased requirement of oxygen during the third wave of the COVID-19 in the country. The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRS) through export Policy Order, 2020, and Import policy Order, 2020.

The ECC considered and approved the summary.

The Power Division presented a summary before the Committee regarding retargeting of power sector subsidies for electricity consumers during phase-I in consultation with Ehsaas and Finance Division.

The ECC approved, in principle the summary, with a direction to work out modalities for future course of action.

The ECC also approved Technical Supplementary Grants; (i) allocation of funds for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for procurement of oxygen gas and delivery mechanism for import of 6,000 MT of oxygen amounting to Rs1,800 million to meet the emergency requirement for supply of oxygen to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients; (ii) Rs10 billion for the Finance Division for re-imbursement of telegraphic transfer charges to the banks on home remittances to encourage overseas Pakistanis to remit money through formal banking channels; (iii) Rs115 million for the Ministry of Defence for the up-gradation of health care facilities at Cantonment General Hospital, Rawalpindi;(iv) Rs800 million to the Ministry of Defence Production for the payment of outstanding loan to the National Bank of Pakistan (Bahrain); (v) Rs8 million for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to clear the pending liabilities of “Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE)”; (vi) Rs571.216 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice for the construction of Islamabad High Court building; (vii) Rs350 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice for a new building of the Supreme Court Branch Registry Karachi; (viii) Rs198.017 million for running Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Center, Islamabad for treatment of COVID-19 patients; (ix) Rs27.5 billion for National Disaster Management Fund to complete NDMA’s component under Karachi Transformation Plan; (x) Rs48.337 million for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for meeting its various operational expenses; (xi) Rs17.739 million for the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) to repair important laboratory equipment; (xii) Rs1,563.046 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Technical Training for establishment and operation of Basic Education Community Schools; (xiii) Rs1,210.18 million for the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) for meeting various operating expenses; (xiv) Rs100 million for the Cabinet Secretariat, given as contribution from the Government of Punjab for the Pakistan Tourism Development Endowment Fund.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Interior Shaikh Rashid Ahmad, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, the federal secretaries, the chairman BOI, and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir joined the meeting through a video link.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021