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March 19, 2020

ECC approves Rs4bln technical grant for FBR

Business

March 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs4.152 billion for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to eliminate fiscal constraints through ensuring sustainable increase in revenues and reduction in tax expenditures.

The ECC took the decision during a meeting presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh.

The grant is part of the ‘Pakistan Raises Revenue Program’ to meet the mandatory and inevitable expenditures for the achievement of disbursement linked indicators and supplement budgetary resources for expenditures in this regard.

The proposed project, envisaging modernising the FBR, is part of the World Bank’s funded International Development Association soft loan amounting to $400 million. The loan has two components: $320 million for result- based financing and $80 million for its traditional investment project financing.

ECC directed the FBR chairperson to give a detailed briefing on the initiative in the next meeting. On the request from the ministry of maritime affairs for the recovery of outstanding wharfage of Rs1.696 billion on import of liquefied natural gas by Pakistan State Oil, the ECC said the outstanding amount would be paid in 10 equal installments without interest over a period of next 10 years.

“However in January 2023, a committee will review the circumstances and suggest any possibility for early repayment of the remaining sum,” a statement, citing the ECC’s decision, said. The decision was taken on the recommendations of the committee constituted under the chairmanship of minister for economic affairs.

The committee approved the technical supplementary grant of Rs44.447 million for Islamabad capital territory (ICT) to execute national program for improvement of watercourses phase-II, productivity enhancement of wheat, Prime Minister’s initiative for save the calf and calf feedlot fattening. Ministry of National Food security and research surrendered the amount in favour of ICT administration.

The ministry of overseas Pakistanis and human resource development presented a report of the task force on overseas employment and welfare of overseas Pakistanis.

ECC, last year, constituted an inter-ministerial task force under the chairmanship of special assistant to the Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development to look into the issues of overseas employment for Pakistani manpower and make recommendations in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari gave a presentation on various important issues and the measures, including identification of trades and skill sets in demand in order to meet the requirements of international job market, development of a centralised technical and vocational education and training (TVET) certification and verification system and improving regulatory mechanism for curbing substandard certifications and helping provincial TEVTAs in developing their skill development capacities, developing mechanism for sharing data on employment opportunities and available skills, and efficient provision of e-passport.

The finance adviser appreciated different measures taken by the committee and further directed the committee to come to the ECC forum, a month after the budget, and brief on the overall progress made on the measures taken by the committee for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis.