ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Friday has approved to release of Rs620.85 million for SSGC for gas supply to Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr Miftah Ismail presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at Finance Division. Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary for release of funds for SSGC for gas supply to Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). It was submitted that due to closure of the production activity in Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), low flame gas of 2 MMCFD is being supplied to PSM primarily to preserve the Coke Oven Batteries and refractories kilns with an average monthly bill of Rs80 million (Approx.). The ECC after discussion allowed release of Rs620.85 million for making payment of 8 months outstanding gas bills i.e. July 2021 to Feb 2022.

Ministry of National Food Security & Research tabled a summary for revision of Cess rates on Tobacco for the year 2022-23. The current cess rates on all types and varieties of tobacco notified by the Federal Government on 14th July, 2021, need to be enhanced in line with the increase in Minimum Indicative Price (MIP) of all types of tobacco notified on 10th Feb, 2022.

Ministry of Communication submitted a summary on funds required for clearing liabilities of the utility companies/ agency partners of the Pakistan Post Office Department (PPOD). The collection of utility bills is one of the agency functions performed by PPOD and amount thus collected was deposited in SBP’s Central Account-1. Liabilities to the tune of amount Rs62.33 billion have been accumulated till 31st March, 2022. Rs25 billion had already been approved on 15-04-2022 for payment to utilities companies. The ECC after detailed discussion granted permission to release funds amounting to Rs37.33 billion for clearing remaining outstanding liabilities of the utility companies/agency partners by the PPOD after verification of claimed amount by SBP.

Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary on levy of regulatory duty on import of Motor Spirit (MS). It was informed that the import of MS is subject to 10 percent Custom Duty under the 5th schedule of the Customs Act, 1969, but it is subject to 0 percent under China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA). Those availing the FTA exemption pay zero customs duty while others pay customs duty @ 10 percent.

The ECC after discussion, in order to address this anomaly, allowed levy of 10 percent regulatory duty on import of MS. However, where customs duty @10 percent is paid on import of MS, it will be exempted from levy of regulatory duty.

The ECC also deliberated and approved a summary submitted by the Finance Division on policy for grant of honorarium with direction that the proposal-v of policy may be redefined as the chairman ECC in his discretion can award additional honorarium to the employees of federal government.

The ECC also approved following supplementary/ technical supplementary grants: (i) Rs40.5 billion for Ministry of Commerce for payment claims cleared by SBP, under previous government’s duty drawbacks schemes (DLTL/LTLD) of textiles and non-textiles sectors. (ii) Rs2.214 billion in favour of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Rs300 million to National Commission for Human Development (NCHD). (iii) Rs3.960 billion to HEC under World Bank project – Higher Education Development in Pakistan. (iv) Rs70 million to Higher Education Commission for the project titled “Award of 3,000 scholarships to students from Afghanistan.” (v) Rs227.924 million in respect of Gilgit –Baltistan Council and its departments. (vi) Rs201.091 million in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works. (vii) Rs1,812.437 million and Rs13,785 million in favour of Ministry of Interior. (viii) Rs81.791 million in favour of Geological Survey of Pakistan. (ix) Rs123.411 million in favour of National School of Public Policy, Lahore. (x) Rs578.11 million in favour of Ministry of Climate Change. (xi) Rs242.377 million for Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Federal Secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting.