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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved Rs62.27 billion for the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for making payment of price differential claims (PDCs) to the OMCs and refineries for the second fortnight of May 2022 and allowed import of three million metric tonnes of wheat.

The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on a summary moved by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) approved payment of price differential claims of oil marketing companies/ refineries for May 16-31 2022 fortnight.

An official said that the meeting was informed that the continuously rising trend of oil prices in the international market, the PDC projection based on current international prices was revised upward to Rs118 billion from earlier projected at Rs102 billion for the month of May 2022.

The ECC meeting also allowed the import of two million metric tons of wheat on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and one million metric tons through an international tendering process under the existing arrangement and decided that PASSCO would be the recipient agency for the imported wheat. The ECC further directed the MNFS&R to get the requirements of wheat by the provincial governments.

ECC’s nod needed to convert Rs202.8bn OGDCL TFCs into PIBs

Ministry of National Food Security and Research’s summary on modalities framed for the import of 03 million metric tons of wheat was submitted in the light of the decisions of the ECC of the Cabinet on 09-05-2022 and Federal Cabinet on 10-05-2022.

On another summary of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for Ramzan Package subsidy on wheat flour – bridge financing facility for Punjab Food Department – the ECC decided that in case subsidy is not approved by the Punjab Cabinet, the shortfall would be bridged by the federal government but government of Punjab would ensure that provincial cabinet approves the package as soon as its meeting is convened.

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for grant of extension in the construction period of K-2 from 30th November 2020 to 21st May 2021 and K-3 from 30th September 2021 to 18th April 2022 for ensuring disbursement of the pending loan of US$ 383 million (approximately) before the expiry of loan availability on 03-06-2022 from Exim Bank, China to the contractor, who has already completed the project.

Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on the continuation of the Prime Minister’s relief package 2020 for the months of May and June 2022 through USC. The ECC after deliberation allowed the continuation of the existing subsidy for two weeks on essential commodities (atta, sugar, rice, and pulses), and Rs100/kg subsidy on ghee at USC.

The Finance Division will also release the outstanding amount on account of subsidy under the PM’s Relief Package – 2020 approved by the ECC for the previous months. The Ministry of Industries and Production also submitted another summary on Chinese offer for the import of urea by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) on G2G basis. The ECC allowed TCP to import 200,000 metric ton Granular Urea from China on G2G basis on deferred payment basis within 90 days.

Ministry of Economic Affairs submitted a summary on the exemption from all kinds of taxes and duties on the complete portfolio being executed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). In Pakistan, SFD is providing assistance for various projects including Energy, Health, Education, and Infrastructure projects.

The ECC, considering the comments of FBR on the subject, suggested that a tax exemption clause for SFD may be inserted in the money bill considering the strong and strategic relationship between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, encompassing economic cooperation and investment.

The Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary on the duty structure on the import of edible palm oil. The ECC allowed removing two per cent additional custom duties on the import of palm oil for shipments originating from all sources except Indonesia for 10-20 June, 2022, subject to the approval of the Federal Cabinet.

The ECC meeting in total approved over Rs146 billion worth supplementary grants/ technical supplementary grants including; (i) Rs62.27 billion for the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for making payment of PDC to OMCs/ refineries for the second fortnight of May 2022; (ii) Rs7,555,59 million for Federal Directorate of Immunization (FDI) under the administrative control of the MNFS&R; (iii) Rs2.44 billion in favour of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for grant of one-time support to pilgrims under the government’s Hajj Scheme; (iv) Rs107.84 million in favour of the Ministry of Interior for maintaining the law and order situation; (v) Rs200 million as grant-in-aid for the Ministry of Law and Justice; (vi) Rs53.912 million and Rs280.00 million in favour of the Ministry of Housing and Works; (vii) Rs50 billion in favour of the Power Division with the condition that the requisite funding will be provided against future subsidy claims; (viii) transfer of Rs24 billion to the BISP from the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety (PA&SS).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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