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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved Rs7.492 billion Ramazan package to provide subsidy to the targeted beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) but deferred a decision on the proposed increase in gas prices till the next meeting for further deliberation.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by the caretaker Finance Minister, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, on Tuesday, to provide relief to the general public during Ramazan, approved the proposed Ramazan Relief Package-2024 for provision of subsidy to the targeted beneficiaries of BISP with the net amount of Rs7.492 billion, which is provided for in the budget for 2023-24.

An official said that the meeting after discussion on the proposal regarding an increase in gas prices decided to take up the matter in the next meeting of the ECC.

Ramazan special package: Free wheat flour for the Faisalabad poor through 240 points

On a summary of the Ministry of Commerce (Tariff Policy Wing), regarding individual tariff rationalization, proposals from different sectors for review of custom duties were discussed in the committee. The ECC after deliberations approved the proposal and advised that tariff rationalization should be coordinated with the trade policy.

A proposal regarding permission to import of wheat and export of wheat flour under Export Facilitation Scheme 2021 was presented to the forum by the Ministry of Commerce which was approved by the meeting with a directive to the relevant ministries to prepare comprehensive proposals for enhancing the opportunities for value-added exports. The ECC also approved a summary of the Power Division regarding commissioning of 1,263 MW CCPP Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited, Jhang (PPTL).

On another proposal of the Ministry of Commerce regarding sharing of subsidy on imported urea at equal 50:50 basis, Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) for the Ministry of Commerce was considered by the ECC. The meeting approved the proposed release of Rs6 billion to the Ministry of Commerce. The funds are meant for clearing the arrears of subsidy for the previous financial year. The Finance Ministry also clarified that no subsidy on this account has been allowed by the government during the current year and directed that the provincial governments be approached to clear their respective arrears of subsidy on urea.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives briefed the ECC on the inflation situation in the country. The forum directed the Ministry of PD&SI to make sure that detailed analysis is carried out on the data collected by the PBS, and the same is also presented to the Committee for taking appropriate measures in a timely manner. The meeting was attended by Minister for Privatization and Inter-Provincial Coordination Fawad Hasan Fawad, Minister for Interior, Commerce and Industries Gohar Ejaz, Minister for Energy and Petroleum Division Mohammad Ali, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Sami Saeed, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Communication and Railways Shahid Ashraf Tarar, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Muhammad Jehanzaeb Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Waqar Masood, federal secretaries, and other senior government officers of the relevant ministries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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