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September 24, 2020

ECC approves Rs4bln to pay off PSM workers’ dues

Business

September 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday approved around four billion rupees to pay off dues of Pakistan Steel Mills’ (PSM) employees.

Two separate summaries were presented in the ECC from the ministry of industries and production for the disbursement of salaries of the employees of PSM and for clearing the

liabilities of its retired employees who have not approached the court.

ECC approved an amount of Rs3.9 billion due to the employees of PSM for the current fiscal year of 2020/21 with the amount divided into monthly payments.

“However, on the second summary, though the ECC agreed in principle that the dues to the retired non- litigant employees should be paid, the forum decided to seek a detailed report from the ministry of industries and production on the nature of liabilities on account of retirement dues, the liabilities that will accrue as a result of the retrenchment plan and other expenditures on account of utilities or any other charges,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The ECC was briefed that earlier this month the retired employees of the PSM were already paid Rs12.7 billion as retirement dues but the Sindh High Court asked the government to pay the non-litigant retired employees as well that will further add Rs11.7 billion to the expenditure of the government.

The ECC further withdrew additional customs and regulatory duties on selected codes to increase the share of manmade fibers in the textile goods for better unit prices in the international markets, product diversification and value addition. The total revenue impact of these exemptions will be Rs533 million, the ministry said.

ECC also granted that waiver of guarantee fee on foreign loans of K2/K3 projects. There will be a benefit of Rs0.07/kilowatt-hour to the public by the waiver of this fee.

ECC considered and approved two technical supplementary grants (TSGs) for the ministry of interior amounting to Rs111 million for clearing various liabilities of the Islamabad administration. Two other TSGs were approved for Islamabad High Court (Rs102 million) and National Heritage and Culture Division (Rs8.5 million) for various expenditures.

The committee allowed the exemption from re-lending of the funds for Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19 to cover the country’s requirements for a year through emergency operations.

“In order to administer the program Asian Development Bank shall provide a loan of $100 million and an additional $5 million will be from the government of Norway as a grant administered by ADB,” said the ministry. “ADB has already signed a loan agreement with the ministry of economic affairs to finance the said project.”

ECC allowed notifying the Kharlachi border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a rebatable border point for export of goods to Afghanistan. Earlier the opening of this border point helped in the release of congested transit trucks at the Afghan border due to COVID-19 restrictions.