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April 9, 2020

ECC approves Rs51.5bln technical supplementary grants

Business

April 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs51.5 billion worth of technical supplementary grants for different government ministries and programs, including subsidy for consumers on purchase of essential goods during Ramazan.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh presided over the meeting of the ECC at the cabinet division.

The committee approved Rs50 billion as technical supplementary grant for the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) announced under Prime Minister relief package.

Shaikh directed the USC to ensure provision of essential items at reduced prices to the people in the wake of current situation prevalent in the country due to COVID-19 as well as during the approaching month of Ramazan.

The government already disbursed Rs21 billion to the USC after December 2019 for the procurement of essential items. USC Managing Director Omar Lodhi said the corporation is effectively utilising its market presence for providing affordable goods to people in this hour of need.

ECC further approved six technical supplementary grants, which included Rs842 million for paying off the executing agencies of the prime minister's youth loan scheme during the current fiscal year of 2019/20, Rs90.459 million for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority to help it meet its obligations, Rs5 million to enable ministry of defence to purchase spare parts for the maintenance of helicopter during the current fiscal year, Rs2.074 million received as grant from the US embassy in favour of HQ Frontier Constabulary Peshawar for the construction of frontier constabulary training centre at Michni Shabqadar and Rs300 million in favour of ministry of information and broadcasting to execute the communication campaign for the Ehsaas program in the next three months.

The committee also nodded to $1.5 million for the ministry of energy to pay the legal counsels hired on behalf of the state in the international litigation case against Turkish ship-based energy firm Karkey. In 2018, arbitration institution International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes asked Pakistan to pay $760 million along with interest to Karkey, which filed arbitration claims against the country under a bilateral investment treaty.

ECC asked the economic affairs division to resubmit a proposal for the recovery of foreign currency loans from a private sector borrower – Gladari Cement Limited – after consultation with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The committee directed the SBP to negotiate with all relevant stakeholders and come up with a viable and practical solution of the issue on the proposal by the ministry of energy for allowing foreign exchange gains/losses in excess of seven percent on delayed payment for Kohala hydropower project.