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January 6, 2018

ECC approves Rs39bln guarantee for Jamshoro project


January 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Government on Friday withdrew sales tax and customs duty on cotton import to meet the shortfall of silver fiber in the country – a key input to foreign revenue spinner textile industry.

“The ECC (Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet) approved a proposal for withdrawal of sales tax and customs duty on imported cotton effective from 8th January, 2018,” a government statement said.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi headed the ECC meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The ECC decision to abolish four percent customs duty and five percent sales tax was in line with a pressing demand of the textile industry since last year to allow duty-free cotton import to promote value addition. Textile sector contributes more than 60 percent of the country’s total exports of $20 billion.

Pakistan, despite being the world’s fourth largest cotton producer, relies on import of cotton to meet local demand, which is estimated at 15 to 16 million tons/year. Cotton production is expected to be around 11.1 million bales of 170kg each during the current crop year of 2017/18 against the revised production target of 12.6 million bales. Cotton output was recorded at 10.6 million bales during the crop year of 2016/17.

In January last year, government announced Rs180 billion trade enhancement package that pulled out four percent customs duty and five percent sales tax on cotton import, but the levies were restored after six months on prospect of increase in cotton production.

The ECC also granted an approval for issuance of government’s sovereign guarantee for Rs39 billion for the construction of two 660 megawatts of coal power projects in Jamshoro.

“The approval has been granted after third party evaluation of the project and authentication of the projected demand and supply data submitted by NTDC (National Transmission and Despatch Company),” the statement said.

State-owned Jamshoro Power Company Limited is setting up supercritical coal-based power plants of aggregate 1,320MW production capacity within the existing premises of thermal power station in Jamshoro.

The ECC meeting also approved financing plan for 1.2 billion cubic feet/day capacity of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG-III) pipeline project, envisaging pipeline network from Karachi to Lahore.

The ECC directed petroleum division to examine the possibility of public-private partnership for the project to be undertaken by Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGCL) and Sui Northern Pipelines Limited.

In 2015, the country got its first RLNG plant with a production capacity of 600 million metric cubic feet/day (mmcfd), while recently another RLNG plant with the same capacity was added to reduce the gas demand and supply gap of around two billion cubic feet/day.

The committee also approved a proposal to allocate 10 mmcfd gas from Adam X-1 and 18 mmcfd from Adam West X-1 to SSGCL.

“The price of gas will be determined as per the applicable petroleum policy,” the statement added.

The prime minister and ECC’s members appreciated Shahid Mehmood, secretary finance for his meritorious services to the government of Pakistan. Mehmood will retire from service on 6 January (today).

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