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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, Monday, approved over Rs21 billion technical supplementary grants (TSGs) including Rs6 billion for census and Rs4 billion for mark-up payments on debt of the PIAC.

The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar considered and approved Rs6 billion TSG in favour of Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conduct of 7th Population and Housing Census.

The Ministry of Planning in a summary stated to meet the financial requirement of census, it made a request for allocation of Rs34 billion, out of which, Rs22 billion has already been released by the Finance Division during the fiscal year 2021-22 and fiscal year 2023-24, and now the Finance Division has advised to move a summary for TSG amounting to Rs5 billion for the outgoing fiscal year, therefore, the approval of the ECC is solicited of Rs6 billion.

The Ministry of Aviation in a summary to the ECC stated that a meeting was held in Prime Minister’s Office on 30 December 2017, wherein, it was decided that mark-up on the debt of PIA would be picked up by government for five years (from July 2018 to June 2023) and its payment would be made directly to the lenders. Consequently, payments of mark-up on government guarantee loans of PIA had been made to the lenders from July 2018 till November 2022.

The Ministry of Finance allocated Rs15 billion during financial year 2022-23 against the demand of Rs31.5 billion out of which Rs14.689 billion was utilised up to November 2022.

The mark-up front December 2022 to June 2023 have been sent to the Finance Division for release of additional funds of Rs22.94 billion, however, no fund have so far been released.

The ECC was further informed that last week, the IATA had issued last warning for payment of its outstanding dues of US$ 2.8 million by 21 June 2023. Failure in compliance with notice could have resulted in suspension of the PIA’s lATA membership and thus, night operations. This payment has been made on 23rd June 2023 with great difficulty.

However, if the existing cash flow problem continues, this situation is likely to re-emerge in the near failure. Furthermore, it is clear that it will not be possible for PIA to continue its operations, if mark-up amount of Rs22.9 billion is not immediately released.

Keeping in view the above, it is proposed that pending claims of the PIAC amounting to Rs22.944 billion, on account of mark-up up to June 2023 may be released to the PIACL, enabling it to overcome cash flow issue.

The ECC approved Rs4 billion as TSG in favour of Ministry of Aviation as mark-up payment for the PIACL.

The ECC meeting also approved Rs63.60 million TSG in favour of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to meet its liabilities and Rs222.037 million in favour of the Ministry of Aviation to meet employees’ related expenditure (ERE).

The ECC also approved Rs69.5 million TSG in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works for the Islamabad High Court building and Judges’ residence as well as Rs60 million TSG in favour of the President’s Secretariat to meet its employee-related expenses for grant of executive allowance of 150 per cent on the basic pay scale on 30-05-2022, effect of annual increment, effect of revision of basic pay from 01-07-2022 and grant of adhoc relief of 15 per cent on the basic pay scale of 2017 with-effect from 01-07-2023.

The meeting also approved Rs22.560 million TSG in favour of Ministry of Climate Change for employee-related expenses, Rs1 billion as TSG for Frontier Corps KP (North) and Rs400 million as TSG for Frontier Corps KP (South) to meet the pending liabilities of ration bills.

The ECC meeting also approved Rs429.420 million and Rs7,525.133 million TSG in favour of Ministry of Interior for employee-related expenses, Rs12.30 million TSG in favour of National Security Division to meet its employee-related expenses.

Rs1,303.85 million TSG was also approved by the ECC in favour of Ministry of National Health Services and Coordination to meet its liabilities, Rs300 million as loan for Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) to pay salaries and pensions with direction to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to find out a permanent solution to the issue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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