Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, which was held at the Finance Division today.
The ECC considered and approved the Draft Policy Directives related to the Auction of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), as submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication before the Committee. This is the first time that the NGMS will be auctioned in AJK, and it will improve mobile broadband services in the region.
Moreover, the ECC also decided that for the payment of the Auctioned license fee, the method in vogue in the earlier auction processes will be followed.
The ECC considered and approved a summary presented by the M/o Commerce regarding the elimination of Documents’ attestation fee for goods imported into Pakistan from Kenya, as this Non-Tariff Measure (NTM) increases the cost of business and transaction time. The said decision by the Committee would facilitate trade between the two countries and enhance Pakistan’s market share in the region.
The ECC approved a summary tabled by the Power Division regarding non-cash settlement for the Power Sector’s re-lent loans against subsidies payable by the Government of Pakistan equal to Rs.116 billion.
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 NAPHDA. The Kamyab Pakistan Program also includes an ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training under the title “Kamyab Hunarmand.”
The Kamyab Pakistan Program is aimed at extending loans to 4 million households at the lowest strata, as registered with the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) of Ehsaas. Loans worth Rs.0.5 million, Rs.0.150 million and Rs.0.2 million through Micro-Finance Providers for Kamyab Karobar and Kamyab Kissan at 0% markup will be provided. The third component of the scheme is the introduction of a new tier in the Naya Pakistan Low-Cost Housing Scheme, wherein loans of Rs.2.7 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs.2 million (for Non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidized rates.
The salient features of the Kamyab Pakistan Program include a loan size of Rs. 150,000 (per crop) for the purchase of agricultural inputs. The commutative disbursement under the program would be Rs. 1.6 billion for 3 years. It shall 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 the Prime Minister. 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.
Secretary 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 15th July 2021 to 30th September 2021, till the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system becomes fully operational. Moreover, the ECC also approved the revision in prices of three essential commodities, namely Atta (20 kg bag) to Rs. 950, Ghee (per kg) to Rs. 260 and Sugar (per kg) to Rs. 85 respectively, owing to an increasing gap between the subsidized prices offered by USC and the prevailing market prices.
The Committee deliberated and approved revision in prices of three essential commodities to rationalize provision of subsidies by the Utility Stores Corporation.
Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented a summary regarding the award of Engineering Consultancy Service contract for up-gradation of Port Qasim Authority (PQA), amounting to Rs.86.6 million. The ECC approved the execution of the project.
ECC allowed Port Qasim Authority, Karachi Port Trust, and Gwadar Port Authority Boards to transfer their Marine assets to the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company Private Limited (PMSSC), a subsidiary of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. The maximum rates to be charged by the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company (PMSSC) from the Public Sector ports and harbors shall be determined from time to time by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs through a notification in the official gazette.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (M/o NFS&R) 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 also 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 M/o 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 a subsidy on [email protected] Rs. 1500/acre for cotton and rice crops during the Kharif Season 2021.
Now, according to the amendment, the farmers can avail subsidy on any phosphatic fertilizer according to their choice.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, SAPM 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 M/o Industries and Production, Governor SBP, Chairman PTA, and other senior officers participated in the meeting.