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July 16, 2020

ECC approves offshore rupee linked bonds

Business

July 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday nodded to floating of rupee-linked bonds in the international markets to finance energy and infrastructure projects in the country.

ECC also called for expediting wheat imports to bridge demand and supply gap during a meeting presided over by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh.

ECC allowed Asian Development Bank to issue offshore rupee-linked bonds for international investors subject to completion of all codal formalities.

“The program, according to the recommendation of SBP (State Bank of Pakistan), shall be restricted to maximum of $200 million,” finance ministry said in a statement. “The local currency proceeds of the bonds shall be used for financing long term infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan.”

The committee said efforts should be accelerated to ensure the availability of wheat and atta in the country throughout the year and on affordable price.

ECC said the Ministry of food ministry should hold meeting with the major importers of wheat at the earliest and come up with proposals that may indicate that what will be the expected price of the imported wheat and if there is any need for the government to allow subsidy on the product to keep the prices stable in the domestic markets.

Food ministry briefed the ECC that combined together the provincial governments and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) have already achieved 79 percent of their procurement targets.

More than 120 importers have so far shown interest to import wheat in the country. ECC directed the food ministry to extend requested facilitation to the importers including waivers of different taxes and duties.

Provincial governments, Trade Corporation of Pakistan and Passco may arrange wheat imports as soon as possible to avoid shortages any time during the year. The ECC also allowed the finance division to release Rs1 billion to Sui Southern Gas Company for undertaking gas supply to localities/villages falling within five kilometers radius of gas fields in order to comply with the Supreme Court and High court decisions.

ECC allowed equity investment abroad amounting to 22.5 million Saudi Riyal by Eastern Products Limited. The committee also approved the increase of limit for investments abroad (to be approved/allowed by the SBP) from $5 million to $10 million beyond which the permission will have to be sought from ECC.

For the implementation of the e-office program, ECC directed ministry of information technology and Federal Investigation Agency to withdraw complaint against LMKR – vendor of e-office software – as well as withdrawal of all inquiries by FIA on projects of LMKR subject to fulfillment of agreement clauses. Planning ministry was directed to activate the project and provide requisite funds to complete the work.