ISLAMABAD  - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to grant one-time waiver for clearance of used vehicles by importers of cars manufactured in the year 2009.

The ECC met under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar. It may be recalled that it came to the notice of the Finance Minister during a presentation made by FBR recently that hundreds of cars were stuck up at the Karachi Port for which a representation had also been made to him during his recent visit to Karachi as well. The Ministry of Commerce informed the ECC that around 900 vehicles of 2009 model were stuck up on the ports due to confusion in determination of age of cars.

In order to permit the clearance of cars, ECC decided to grant a one time waiver, where the date of Export General Manifest (EGM) is prior to 31.12.2013, subject to payment of surcharge. ECC approved the surcharge for the first 8 months beyond the prescribed age limit of 3 years shall be calculated on rates stipulated in Ministry of Commerce O.M. Dated 25.2.201 and  an additional surcharge for the period (maximum 4 months) beyond 3 years and 8 months at a flat rate of 20pc of the C&F value. The powers to condone age beyond prescribed age limit, delegated to Collectors Customs, vide Ministry of Commerce OM dated 25.2.2013 and 15.6.2012 was also withdrawn by ECC subject to two months public notice. ECC however, permitted the relevant Customs Collectorate may continue to be delegated the authority for condoning delay in shipment by 30 days beyond the prescribed 120 days (para 4(1)(b) and 4(3)(c) of the Appendix-E of IPO-2013, against an additional surcharge of 5pc.

Sources informed that ECC did not discuss the issue of restructuring Pakistan Steel Mills, as it was not on the agenda of the meeting.  The ECC also approved to extend a fresh guarantee of Government of Pakistan to the tune of Pak Rs.2.0 billion in favour of Faysal Bank Ltd to provide loan to Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC). The loan would be utilised to pay installment to Exim Bank as well as partial over-dues of Pakistan State Oil. ECC also noted that PIA was obtaining another loan of Rs.3.40 billion from National Bank of Pakistan by pledging its domestic cash flow. The ECC directed the Secretary Aviation Mohammad Ali Gardezi to place before it the latest financial position of PIA as well as progress on the acquisition of ten aircrafts approved by the ECC within one month.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal observed that there should be visible improvement in the conditions at the airports and no smoking should be strictly enforced. On a summary moved by Ministry of Commerce regarding an earlier observation by the ECC on 6th December 2013 for streamlining the procurement of sugar by Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), the ECC decided to allow TCP to purchase 75000 tons in the first month and 50,000 tons per month subsequently with the condition that it will inform about the progress to the ECC by the end of February 2014. The decision has been taken in view of the fact that this is the middle of the crushing season and the sugarcane production is projected to be very good.

The ECC approved establishment of monitoring unit in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to evaluate its performance and that this cell shall submit quarterly reports before it. The monitoring unit shall oversee the follows: a.     Setting up of benchmarks and keep performance indicators for Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and Generation Companies (GENCOs) and other entities/ organisations under the Ministry of Water and Power. b.     Monthly monitoring of the above benchmarks. c.   Periodic dissemination and public reporting of the data relating to financials and key performance indicators of the entities in the power sector. d.     Coordination with the Ministry of Finance for follow up on key commitments on energy sector reforms programmes with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). e.      Coordination with relevant agencies to ensure progress and compliance with respect to various projects.

The ECC also decided to set up a similar unit in the Ministry of Water and Power with similar terms of reference. The ECC approved the National Power Tariff and Subsidy Policy Guideline 2014 placed before it by the Ministry of Water and Power as it was in line with Section 7 of the NEPRA Act.

The Ministry of Water and Power informed the ECC that the amount of bagasse produced by sugar mills in the country had the potential to generate over 2,000MW of electricity.

In this connection ECC approved the Standardised Security Agreements (Project Agreements) for Up-front Tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (Bagasse/ Biomass) and AEBD/ CPPA was authorised to approve any project specific amendments in Standardised Security Agreements (project Agreements) for Up-Front Tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (Bagasse/ Biomass) during negotiations subject to provision of legal opinion in order not to increase GoP obligations or liabilities beyond the provisions of the Framework for Power C0-Generation 2013 (Bagasse/ Biomass) & the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006.