Finance and Revenue Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. The Ministry of Industry and Production submitted a summary of sugar imports to the ECC to reduce the upward pressure on sugar prices and buffer stocks before fresh produce arrives. The ECC approved the reduction of the withholding Income Tax from 5.5 percent to 0.25 percent on commercial imports of white sugar and raw sugar and the abolition of Value Added Sales Tax on white sugar imports. The reduction in taxes will encourage sugar factories to import 300,000 tons of Raw Sugar by 30 June 2021. ECC also prompted Pakistan Trading Corporation (TCP) to import 500,000 tons of white sugar as and when needed this season.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented a summary for the expansion of the ‘Road to Mecca Pilot Project’ from Islamabad airport to two more cities such as Karachi and Lahore to facilitate Hujjaj’s Hajj under the Government Program. One of the prerequisites for scaling the Road to Mecca Project was the special exemption granted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to technical equipment imports in Pakistan. The ECC decided that the FBR would hold a separate consultation with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to determine the details, and the issue be submitted for the next ECC’s approval. A summary to the ECC to rebuild a high-powered committee led by the Vice President of the Planning Commission, including the Minister of Finance, the Secretary of Aviation, and the Secretary of Law and Justice, to discuss the financial challenges facing the Roosevelt Hotel, USA, New York. presented. The committee approved the above request.
Prior to the ECC, the Secretary of the Ministry of Communications presented a detailed National Transport and Logistics Policy (NFLP) framework. Honorable Members of the ECC appreciated the Department’s efforts to draft a comprehensive policy and directed the Ministry of Transport to identify and separate the applicable elements that fall within its sphere of influence and location before the next ECC for final approval. The proposals of other Ministries and Provinces will be evaluated separately within the scope of some institutional arrangements in an appropriate forum. ECC also approved a draft policy on capital investment abroad by residents / firms, which addresses the needs of the business community and aims to increase the ease of doing business, encourage exports, facilitate incumbent companies to raise capital from abroad. It will also meet the legitimate investment needs of individuals. The National Ministry of Food Safety and Research submitted a summary to authorize the TCP to make urgent regulations for the import of 300,000 tons of wheat through the procurement process approved by the Council of Ministers, and appointed PASSCO as a purchasing institution to replenish its stocks of imported wheat. necessary. ECC approved as requested by the Ministry. The ECC also approved another summary prepared by the Ministry of Food Safety and Research on the allocation of 60,000 tons of wheat from PASSCO’s current stock to the Food Administration in Balochistan at a subsidized rate according to the previous practice.
The ECC also decided that the gas rate of Rs772 / MMBTU will apply for Agritech and Fatima Fertilizers from November 2020 to January 2021, as requested by the Ministry of Industry and Production. ECC approved the imports of 52 fire trucks by Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited (SIDCL) for exemption of 17 percent Sales Tax and 3 percent additional sales tax. The Ministry of Communications updated the ECC on the progress made in converting National Highway Authority (NHA) loans into State loans, according to the latest ECC held on December 2, 2020. The NHA requested 9 months to draw up a commercially viable business plan in consultation with other Ministries. The NHA’s debt restructuring will be linked to the outcome of that business plan. The ECC also accepted the approval of the proposal that the unpaid price increase accrued to date in all CDL / FRL at NHA will be capitalized by 30 June 2020. There will be a moratorium on accruing more profit margins until the business plan is completed.
ECC approved Rs 10 million technical grant for purchase of Spare Parts for helicopter maintenance by HQ Frontier CORPS Balochistan, Rs67,459,100 to the Home Office for payment to lawyers hired to pursue cases in the UK The Ministry of Law and Justice for the establishment of 3 new courts Rs 16,628 billion to the Ministry of Planning Development and Private Initiatives for the completion of 21 plans of Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited, Rs 82.5 million for the completion of the project titled “Each of Pakistan’s Rs 300 million for the completion of the “Construction of KA7151 Thousand Qasim Industrial Park 132 KV Network Station” project by the Ministry of Industry and Production.
The Textile and Apparel Policy draft 2020-25 prepared by the Ministry of Commerce has been postponed to the next ECC for a detailed discussion.