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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has approved Rs8.39 billion to provide cash subsidy to farmers of flood-affected areas instead of wheat seeds. It also approved a supplementary grant of Rs3 billion to increase discretionary spending of parliamentarians’ development schemes to a record Rs90 billion.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday was moved a summary by the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety regarding subsidy for wheat seed (Rabi 2022-23).

The ECC meeting allowed provision of Rs8.39 billion through technical supplementary grant (TSG) in favour of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for cash subsidy to the farmers of flood-affected areas instead of provision of wheat seeds as per recommendations of the committee.

The ECC also directed the BISP to initiate cash disbursement through its partner bank as per eligibility criteria and the amount to be disbursed to each eligible person identified by the government of Sindh.

Rain- and flood-hit farmers: Three markup waiver and financing schemes announced

The ECC meeting also approved Rs3 billion for the Cabinet Division for development expenditure under the SDGs Achievement Programme (SAP) to increase discretionary spending of parliamentarians’ development schemes from Rs87 billion to Rs90 billion, up by Rs20 billion over Rs70 billion allocated in the budget for the current fiscal year. Rs17 billion TSG were earlier approved by the ECC.

The ECC granted approval to a summary submitted by the Ministry of Commerce and allowed the TCP to carry on pre-shipment inspection of imported wheat at load ports by its already pre-qualified six international pre-shipment inspection agencies (PSIAs) to ensure the quality of imported wheat as per approved specifications. It was informed that a number of wheat consignments are due in the coming months.

The ECC considered a summary of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) and granted an extension in Adam X-1 development and production lease for a period of five years from 10-02-2022 in order to increase the domestic oil and gas production and to reduce the burden of imported energy. Previously, Adam X-1 development and production lease was granted for a period of seven years from10-02-2015, covering an area of 19.42 sq km and located in District Sanghar. The field still has potential for further commercial production.

The ECC considered another summary of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) and allowed one-year extended well testing (EWT) over Umair SE-1 discovery Guddu (E.L) from the start of production under EWT arrangements.

The meeting was informed that an exploration licence (EL) was granted over Guddu Block in 1999, operated by the OGDCL. Based on the results of seismic data, the OGDCL has made a new discovery in the Guddu EL from the HabibRahi Limestone and Pirkoh Limestone by drilling a well namely,Umair S.E-1.

The ECC also considered a summary of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and approved an increase in maximum retail price (MRP) of one drug as per the recommendation of the Drug Pricing Committee.

The ECC also considered and approved two summaries of the Ministry of Interior regarding the grant of financial aid of Rs10 million to the legal heirs of the deceased of the recent suicide blast at I-10 Markaz, and Rs 20 million for the legal heirs of the deceased who died during the recent long march of a political party.

The ECC formed a committee of secretaries of the MNFSR and Commerce headed by the SAPM on government effectiveness, on a summary of the Health Ministry seeking TSG of the PCCC employees, to evaluate viable options for the financial sustainability of the PCCC and to submit a report in 15 days.

The ECC also approved TSG, SG of Rs844.389 million in favour of the Ministry of Housing and Works for repair and maintenance of the Supreme Court of Pakistan building, judges’ residences, rest houses and sub-offices in various cities. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives AhsanIqbal, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Pasha, SAPM on Government Effectiveness Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Coordinator to PM on Commerce and Industry RanaEhsanAfzal, federal secretaries, and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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