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August 13, 2020

ECC approves debt settlement of PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel


August 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday approved settlement of $105 million worth of a loan on Roosevelt Hotel, owned by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the U.S.

The ECC approved payment of all liabilities and responsibilities resulting from a debt secured by the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh asked the Finance Division to engage with law and aviation divisions and Planning Commission to formalise the mode of payment/refinancing as per schedule of the loan contracted by the Roosevelt Hotel to meet its financial challenges, and submit to ECC in its next meeting for formal approval.

United States President Donald Trump had expressed interest in buying the historic luxury hotel.

The ECC also discussed and approved amendments to the import policy order 2016 to streamline international trade in live animals and their meat products in accordance with the international rules and practices.

The ECC also approved a proposal by the finance division to allow the Asian Development Bank to launch offshore Pakistan rupee-linked bonds based on market conditions.

The committee also considered a proposal by the revenue division for arrangement of Rs40 billion for payment of income tax refunds of up to Rs50 million pending since 2013.

The ECC approved the proposal and asked the finance division to arrange the required funds.

The Federal Board of Revenue was asked to apprise the ECC of current status of pending refunds with the observation that payment of refunds to the taxpayers was the topmost priority of the government and taxpayers had already been given Rs250 billion tax refunds in the last fiscal year, which was more than double the amount of refunds paid to taxpayers in the previous year.

The ECC also considered approved a revision in key terms of Kamyab Jawan youth entrepreneurship scheme for making the scheme accessible to all Pakistani citizens meeting the laid-down criteria.

The ECC also approved a proposal by the ministry of inter-provincial coordination for grant of exemption from payment of annual renewal fee of licences issued to travel and tourism related business. The financial impact of the one-year fee exemption comes to approximately Rs17 million.

The committee also took up the rescheduling/restructuring of financing facilities and deferment in re-payment of principal loan amount by one year upon a written request of the borrowers received before 30 June to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, and extended the same facility to borrowers youth business loan and Kamyab Jawan youth entrepreneurship scheme upon written requests received before 30 September provided the borrowers would continue to service the mark-up amount as per the agreed terms and conditions of the relevant scheme.

The ECC also took up and approved a proposal by the cabinet division for re-allocation through technical supplementary grant of lapsed funds of Rs8.01 billion under sustainable development goals achievement program to respective ministries and divisions.

The committee also approved a proposal for additional funds equal to $3 million for contribution towards South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) COVID-19 emergency fund announced during the video conference of Saarc leaders in March 2020. Similar contributions from other member countries had also been announced.

The ECC also discussed and approved a supplementary grant of Rs540 billion that remained unutilised due to procedural conditions under the COVID-19 relief measures announced in the current fiscal year of FY2020/21.