ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday approved mobile device manufacturing and electric vehicles policies, announcing tax incentives for locally-manufactured phones and encouraging use of hybrid cars.
The ECC took the decisions during a meeting presided over by Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Sheikh.
After due deliberation, the forum approved removal of withholding tax of 4 percent on manufacturing to retailers of locally-manufactured phones to incentivise the sector. Moreover, removal of sales tax on locally manufactured phones was also approved in principle and modalities would be worked out in consultation with the finance division.
The committee further approved the new re-lending policy 2020 presented by the economic affairs division. The new re-lending policy will reflect the changes in the borrowing cost of the government, take into account variation in the exchange rate and pass on actual rates to the borrower for transparency. Other terms and stipulations, including with respect to recovery of commitment fee as in the policy in vogue, will continue to apply.
The meeting also accorded approval for issuance of offshore rupee-linked bonds to the International Finance Corporation. This will help in availability of financing to priority sectors, promote private sector investments and bring foreign exchange liquidity in domestic foreign exchange market in the post-COVID-19 scenario.
The Karachi Transformation Plan was postponed to the next ECC meeting.
ECC approved the following technical supplementary grants of Rs219.3 million for the operationalisation of the newly established isolation hospital and infections treatment centre in Islamabad.
Rs305.4 million was approved to pay off Pakistan’s annual contribution to the World Health Organization. Rs106.7 million was approved to the Islamabad Capital Territory administration for various projects. Rs706.8 million was approved for federally-administered tribal areas, temporary displaced persons and emergency recovery projects.
The meeting also approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs53.1 million for procurement of medical equipment, machinery and medicines to combat COVID-19.
The finance secretary briefed the forum about rationalisation of subsidies (phase-I). A detailed presentation was given to the ECC focusing on electricity, food and national savings during the first phase.
The meeting directed the officials to present a comprehensive summary with concrete proposals suggesting a way forward before ECC.
Priority berthing for wheat and sugar imports was also discussed during the meeting. The Minister for Maritime Affairs updated the forum about the latest position of wheat vessels and operations of Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority accordingly.
It was decided that the logistic committee of the ECC would be chaired by the minister for maritime affairs to
work out procedures ensuring all stakeholders including the private sector are onboard with reference to priority berthing.
The Ministry of national food security and research presented a summary for provision of additional quantities of wheat to Kashmir and Utility Stores Corporation.
The officials were directed to provide the first load of the additional quantities to both on priority as an interim arrangement to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country. The detailed proposal would be discussed in the next ECC meeting.
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