ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) to seek opinion of Law Ministry on ex-post facto approval of incurred expenditure as Supreme Court has held that ex-post facto approval for any incurred expenditure cannot be granted by any forum, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Recently, the MoI&P informed the ECC that Ehsaas Programme has been launched since February 01, 2022 and is going to incrementally scale up enrolment of its beneficiaries in coming months. Therefore, Ministry of Industries and Production holds that until the Ehsaas Programme is fully serviceable, five essential commodities may be sold at existing subsidized rates at Utilities Stores Corporation (USC) outlets up till April 30, 2022, (including Ramazan) in order to provide relief to the poor segment of the population who may not be covered under Ehsaas Programme.
In this regard, the impact of un-targeted subsidy as calculated by USC for the months of February, March, and April (Ramzan), 2022 was Rs 13.362 billion: for February 2022 Rs 2.648 billion, March 2022 Rs 2.434 billion and April 2022 Rs 8.280 billion.
The MoI&P also informed that ECC had approved subsidy for the months of October, November, December, 2021 and January, 2022 which has not been released by the Finance Division as yet.
Details of receivables are: funds already approved for October, November, December -2021 and January 2022 were Rs 6.035 billion and funds receivable till September-21 were Rs 3.460 billion, totalling Rs 9.495 billion.
The MoI&P has requested ECC to accord ex-post facto approval for continuation of un-targeted subsidy from sale of five essential commodities, i.e., Atta, ghee, sugar, rice and pulses from February 1 to March 31, 2022, followed by Ramzan Relief Package-2022 (April-2022) for 19 items to be sold at subsidized prices.
The MoI&P has also requested immediate release of previous receivables amounting to Rs.9.495 billion by the Finance Division for smooth operations and better cash flow of USC.
The MoI&P also sought approval of revision of price of non-subsidized commodities as per market situation under the existing mechanism.
During the ensuing discussion, the Additional Secretary, Cabinet Division informed the ECC that in light of the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, ex-post facto approval for any incurred expenditure cannot be granted by any forum.
The Finance Minister/ Chairman ECC observed that Ministry of Industry and Production should consult the Ministry of Law and Justice and resubmit its summary to the extent of incurred expenditures.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022