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Pakistan

Did ECC really allow Covid-19 relief fund to be used for power sector debt payments ?

Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the reallocation of about
Updated 21 May 2020
  • Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the reallocation of about Rs10 billion from the Stimulus Package to power sector interest payments.

It was reported that The ECC meeting, presided by Adviser to PM on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh allowed allocation of Rs10bn from Stimulus Package as a stopgap arrangement for interest payments to the Pakistan Energy Sukuk-II for a period of six months.

It is important to make it clear that contrary to some of the media reports about this allocation being done from Corona Relief Fund/Package, this was actually a reallocation of funds from the Government’s Stimulus Package of Rupees 1,200 Billion. This reallocation of funds has nothing to do with the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund/Package in which the government is asking for donations which are to be used for relief purposes.

The Ministry of Finance also clarified this via an official statement released on Thursday, in which they said that “the Prime Minister COVID Relief Fund is to be utilized solely for providing cash assistance to the most vulnerable households and daily wagers. The government has scaled up emergency cash assistance to cover 16 million most vulnerable households due to the COVID 19 crisis, from 5 million households earlier. The ECC decision was to allocate Rs 10 billion towards the interest payment of Rs 200 billion PES II issued on 20th May 2020, from the Fiscal stimulus package of Rs 1.2 trillion.”

The ECC also approved the constitution of the Policy Committee led by the Prime Minister for the purpose of managing and operating the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund 2020.

The committee includes: planning minister, adviser to PM on finance, adviser to PM on commerce, adviser to PM on poverty alleviation, PM’s focal person for corona philanthropy drive and finance secretary.