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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved an increase in gas prices effective from 1st February 2024 with recommendation of uniform gas price for fertiliser plants.

Pakistan has committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for notification of the December 2023 semi-annual gas tariff adjustment determination by February 15, 2024, and the ECC meeting presided over by Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar has decided to approve the increase on Wednesday.

Sources said that the gas prices are being hiked by up to 40 percent. However, an official said that the ECC has suggested some changes in the proposed increase in gas sale prices and decided that working would be done by the relevant ministry to finalise the increase for different sectors amid possibility of some decrease for domestic sector. The final approval of the increase would be solicited from the federal cabinet today (Thursday).

ECC may approve increase in gas prices today

The Finance Ministry stated that the summary of Petroleum Division regarding natural gas sale pricing fiscal year 2023-24 (effective from 1st February 2024) was deliberated upon at length.

After discussion, the ECC decided that revision of sale price, tariff should be consistent with revenue requirements of the Sui companies.

The committee recommended uniform gas price for fertiliser plants. The ECC directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to investigate the undue increase in urea price during recent past and fix the responsibility. The ECC also directed the Ministry of Industries for ensuring the stability of urea prices in the market.

The ECC also considered the proposal of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding rationalisation of criterion of enhanced rate of 25 per cent sales tax on locally manufactured/ assembled vehicles (PCT87.03). The proposal was approved after a detailed discussion.

The Finance Division has sought approval of share subscription agreement (SSA) of National Credit Guarantee Company Limited (NCGCL) from the forum. The ECC approved the proposal of signing of SSA between NCGCL, Karandaz, and the government through the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding amendments in “SRO 760(I)/2013-import and export of precious metal jewellery and gemstones order, 2013 and Import Policy Order 2022.

The ECC agreed to the proposals in principle, and directed that a committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Law, the FBR and the SECP may formulate detailed proposals for this export-oriented policy reform targeting opening up of the service sector.

The ECC also gave approval of the summary of Intelligence Bureau for provision of additional funds of Rs125 million during the current financial year to meet the increasing requirements of Bureau vis-à-vis operations against terrorists and anti-state elements.

The summary of the Finance Division regarding approval of Technical Supplementary Grant for provision of rupee cover for remaining funds amounting to Rs7,621,756,096 of 1st tranche of credit lines of US $85 million obtained from the World Bank was approved by the ECC.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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