ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has allowed the export of selected commodities to Afghanistan in Pakistani currency and removal of 45 per cent regulatory duty on the import of Chilghoza (pine nut) from Afghanistan.

The ECC, considering the food crisis and prevailing situation of Afghanistan, approved the summary presented by Ministry of Commerce and allowed the export of selected commodities to Afghanistan against Pakistan currency by adding them in the list of items at Para-7(1) of Export Policy Order, 2020. The items included sugar, rice, fish, meat and its products, fruits, vegetables, salt, dry fruits and others.

The ECC has also approved a summary presented by Ministry of Commerce and allowed removal of 45% regulatory duty on the import of Chilghoza from Afghanistan as the reduction in tariff on this item will encourage the legal import of unprocessed Chilghoza for processing in the country for export and will also be instrumental in creation of jobs in the far flung areas of border regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and economically backward areas of Balochistan. 

The ECC has approved Rs5 billion for conducting 7th population and housing census. The summary moved to ECC for supplementary grant of Rs5 billion stated that the Council of Common Interests (CCI), in its 45th meeting, had approved the final results of the 6th Population and Housing Census-2017 and had decided that the process of the next census should start as early as possible according to international best practices.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin virtually presided over meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. 

The ECC, while noting the growth in exports, approved the summary tabled by Ministry of Commerce to enhance the quota limit for export of samples to twenty five thousand US dollars or 0.1% of actual export proceeds during the last financial year in US dollars per exporter per annum, by amending relevant paras of Export Policy Order, 2020. The ECC approved a proposal submitted by Finance Division for engaging the services of third party to carry out the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) functions of the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP). Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) was engaged for Monitoring and Evaluation of KPP. However, PPAF has not been able to undertake M & E responsibilities due to its legal status. 

Finance Division presented a summary to resolve the issue of reversal of Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) unspent grant funds under amendment to MoU with proposal to establish a new Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) having 56% shareholding of FCDO through Karandaaz (unspent funds) and 44% shareholding of GoP, with mandate of issuance of credit guarantees against financing in SME sector. The ECC discussed and approved the proposal.

Ministry of Water Resources tabled a summary on compensation package for the affected Chinese nationals of Dasu Hydropower Project incident. The ECC after deliberation and considering the depth of our relationship with China approved the proposal of payment of US dollars 11.6 million as a goodwill gesture on government level. Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary on the urea fertilizer requirement for remaining Rabi Season 2021-22. The ECC after detailed deliberation allowed the operations of SNGPL based plants (Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura plant) and Agritech) for a further two months post Jan 2022 i-e Feb – Match 2022 at gas rate of Rs. 839/MMBTU for the mentioned period.

The ECC approved a summary tabled by Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication for the constitution of Advisory Committee headed by the finance minister for the release of IMT/5G spectrum.

Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication also presented draft Policy Directive of the Pakistan Telecommunication ( Re-Organization) Act 1996 for renewal of Cellular License of Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz). The ECC after discussion approved the summary. 

The ECC also approved Technical supplementary Grants (TSG) of Rs. 4 billion under the Pakistan Raises Revenue Programme (PRRP) for Financial Year 2021-22 for Federal Board of Revenue and Rs 78.500 million for the projects of the ICT Administration, Islamabad by Ministry of Interior. It has also approved TSG of Rs. 60 million for Ministry of Interior within sanctioned budget for purchase of spare parts for helicopter maintained by HQs Frontier Corps Balochistan North, Rs. 3 million equivalent to $ 17,133.06 within sanctioned budget for Ministry of Interior for purchase of spare parts for helicopter maintained by HQs Frontier Corps KP (North) and re-allocation of Rs. 226.8 million surrendered funds for the year 2021-22 under Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) in favour of Interior Division for further release to the ICT Administration.

The ECC also approved Technical supplementary Grants of rupee cover of USD 65.00 million (equivalent to Rs. 11,960.0 million) to M/o NHSR&C, committed by Islamic Development Bank, to utilize the IsDB loan under “IVAC Covid-19 Vaccine support for Pakistan.”