ECC meeting

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has given a go-ahead for the release of 650,000 tonnes of wheat from PASSCO stocks to the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Sindh and Balochistan, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the ECC held on Wednesday with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the Chair, said a press release.

The ECC took up the wheat situation in the country, particularly the rising trend in wheat prices, and approved a proposal by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for release of 300,000 tonnes each to governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh and 50,000 tonnes to the government of Balochistan.

The ECC also approved an amount of Rs 2.745 billion to be paid as PASSCO incidental charges at the ratio of 50:50 to be equally shared by the federal and respective provincial governments.

The ECC was informed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research that the PASSCO and Provincial Food Departments had reported their stocks at the level of 6.444 million tonnes as compared to 10.093 million tonnes of the corresponding period of the last year.

However, despite the fact that the total availability of wheat was estimated at the level of 28.256 million tonnes, including the leftover stock of 3.777 million tons as compared to the national requirement of 26.91 million tons of the country, the prices of wheat and flour still showed upward trend in the local market, the ECC was told.

Taking up other agenda items, the ECC also considered two separate proposals submitted by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for payment of different outstanding amounts by WAPDA and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to the Port Qasim Authority and constituted a committee under Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar to resolve the issue.

Earlier, the ECC was told that WAPDA owed an amount of Rs 1.076 billion to Karachi Port Trust after 52 consignments imported by WAPDA were cleared by the KPT Board on WAPDA’s request on deferred payment and following approval of the federal government.

The ECC was told that WAPDA had only paid a sum of Rs 334 million as against Rs 1.41 billion while the remaining Rs 1.076 was still pending. The other payment was related to the Petroleum Division which owed an amount of Rs 1.696 billion to the Port Qasim Authority for wharfage charges against the LNG imported by Pakistan State Oil.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs requested the ECC to direct WAPDA and the Petroleum Division to make their respective payments to the PQA. The ECC discussed the issue and in the light of input on the issue, formed a committee headed by the Minister for Economic Affairs to examine the matter and suggest a solution within two weeks for resolution of the issue.

The ECC also approved a proposal by the Ministry of Interior for grant of a Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs 100 million, inclusive of Rs 43 million for employee related expenses and Rs 57 million for operating expenditures, for revamping of different departments of the Islamabad Administration following approval of summary by the Prime Minister on 10th June 2019 to establish departments like Forest, Food Authority, Reclamation and Probation and a proper Cooperative Society in Islamabad with their administrative expenditure and expenses to be funded through improved collection of revenues by ICTA.

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The ECC also approved another proposal submitted by the Ministry of Energy for allocation of up to 8 MMCFD gas from Chabbaro and up to 10 MMSCFD gas from Gundanwari to the M/s SSGCL with the price of gas as per the applicable Petroleum Policy.

Earlier, the ECC was briefed that the OGDCL had requested to allocate the gas from both the gas fields, located in the Khairpur district, under commercial production to the government-appointed buyer Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL).

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