ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved increasing the prices of three essential commodities including flour, sugar and ghee to rationalise the provision of subsidies by the Utility Stores Corporation, ARY News reported on Friday.
The ECC approved the revision in prices of three essential commodities including flour (20-kilogram bag) to Rs950, Ghee to Rs260 per kg and sugar to Rs85 per kg respectively owing to an increasing gap between the subsidised prices offered by USC and the prevailing market prices.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held at the Finance Division today.
During the meeting, the secretary of the Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary regarding the extension of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020, providing subsidies on five essential commodities from July 15 to September 30 till the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system becomes fully operational.
The ECC approved Kamyab Pakistan Program, a flagship program that shall extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs and farmers under “Kamyab Karobar” and “Kamyab Kissan” schemes respectively.
The program shall also provide low-cost housing loans through Naya Pakistan Housing & Development Authority (NAPHDA). The program also includes an ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training under the title of “Kamyab Hunarmand”.
The program is aimed at extending loans to four million households at the lowest strata, as registered with the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) of Ehsaas.
Loans worth Rs0.5 million, Rs0.150 million and Rs0.2 million through micro-finance providers for Kamyab Karobar and Kamyab Kissan at zero per cent mark-up will be provided.
The third component of the scheme was the introduction of a new tier in the Naya Pakistan Low-Cost Housing Scheme wherein loans of Rs.27 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs2 million (for Non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidised rates.
The salient features of the Kamyab Pakistan Program include a loan size of Rs150,000 (per crop) for the purchase of agricultural inputs. The commutative disbursement under the program would be Rs1.6 billion over the period of 3 years, whereas, it will benefit 30,00,000 families.
The ECC commended all concerned for working out such a detailed program aimed at a “bottom-up approach” for reducing poverty as envisaged by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The finance minister stated that the consultative process was followed in working out modalities of the Kamyab Pakistan Program, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are on board and micro-loans shall be disbursed as per the given criteria.
The committee approved the summary presented by the commerce ministry regarding the elimination of documents attestation fee for goods imported into Pakistan from Kenya as the Non-Tariff Measure (NTM) increases the cost of business and transaction time.
The elimination of documents attestation fees will facilitate trade between the two countries and enhance Pakistan’s market share in the region.
A summary tabled by the Power Division was approved for non-cash settlement for Power Sector re-lent loans against subsidies payable by the federal government equal to Rs116 billion.
The ECC also approved the Draft Policy Directives related to the auction of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication before the Committee.
It is the first time that the NGMS will be auctioned in AJK and it will improve mobile broadband services in the region. Moreover, ECC also decided that for the payment of the auctioned licence fee, the method in vogue in the earlier auction processes will be followed.
A summary presented by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs regarding the award of the Engineering Consultancy Service contract for the up-gradation of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) amounting to Rs86.6 million was also approved beside the execution of the project.
Port Qasim Authority, Karachi Port Trust and Gwadar Port Authority Boards were allowed to transfer their marine assets to the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company Private Limited (PMSSC) which is a subsidiary of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.
The maximum rates to be charged by the Pakistan Marine & Shipping Services Company (PMSSC) from the Public Sector ports and harbours shall be determined from time to time by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs through a notification in the official gazette.
During the meeting, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented a summary regarding the procurement of 200,000 cotton bales by TCP to promote cotton production and bring stability to the domestic market.
The ECC approved the formation of the Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) with a mandate to review market prices and propose intervention on a fortnightly basis.
The ECC also approved a summary by the Ministry of Industries and Production for importing 200,000 metric tons of sugar to build strategic reserves and minimize the role of speculative elements in the domestic market. In case of need more reserves will be built through import, the ECC decided.
ECC approved the amendment in its earlier decision dated 19-02-2021 regarding the “Prime Minister’s fiscal package for Agriculture in the wake of COVID-19 Kharif”.
The package offered subsidy on [email protected]/acre for cotton and rice crops, during the Kharif Season 2021. Following the amendment, the farmers can avail subsidy on any phosphatic fertilizer according to their choice, read the press release.
The ECC meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Communication, Secretary Industries and Production Ministry, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman and other senior officers.