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December 13, 2019

ECC approves Rs460mln in grant to control locust epidemic


December 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Thursday approved around Rs460 million in a technical supplementary grant to cope up with the emergency of desert locust threat in the country.

The ECC took the decision on a proposal of the ministry of national food security and research in a meeting at the cabinet block presided over by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh. The grant of Rs459.5 million was approved for coping with the emergency of desert locust threat.

The meeting was told that locust affected nine districts of the country. The department of plant protection was mandated to deal with the threat. So far 170,000 hectares have been cleared across the country.

The committee directed the ministry of national food security and research to brief the ECC in its next meeting on the measures taken so far including the areas treated with spray and pesticides to control the threat of desert locust in different parts of the country.

The ECC further approved the “Enactment of Pakistan Single Window Bill 2019” that would allow businesses to lodge standardised information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements.

The bill would be sent to cabinet for further approval. The enactment of the bill would facilitate the businesses. Currently, 42 government agencies are involved in granting approvals to various businesses.

In April 2018, the customs wing in the Federal Board of Revenue developed national single window roadmap and implementation framework prepared with the help of International Experts. This initiative is expected to improve Pakistan’s rating in ease of doing business index. It is expected that the project would be completed in December 2021.

The ECC allowed the continuation of funding facility by Gas Holding Private Limited for Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) for another 2 years. There will be a provision in the agreement that as soon as the first project reaches closure, ISGS needs to be financially self-sustaining and it should put forward a business plan as how it would return the loan it has taken.

The ECC approved the placement of the annual report of the National Economic Council, as required by Article 156 of the constitution, before the cabinet after the meeting was told that the points raised regarding the report for its placement before the cabinet had been duly addressed.

Ministry of energy got the approval of a proposal for the extension and rehabilitation of gas network in oil and gas producing districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Phase 1).

Supply of gas to villages falling beyond 5 kilometre radius of Mardan Khel-III district Hangu and supply of gas to Hafizabad. Accordingly, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) was allowed to execute gas development schemes recommended by Development Working Party and endorsed by the board of directors of SNGPL along with appropriate share of the funding shared between SNGPL and the provincial government.

The ECC approved Rs300 million through technical supplementary grant for raising of 1 special wing of Pakistan Rangers for protection of Kartarpur corridor.

The ECC constituted a three-member committee consisting of Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain, Secretary Finance and a representative of ministry of interior to look into the details of the proposal and further rationalise the costs.

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