Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet (through a video link) today.
Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir, joined the meeting through a video link.
The ECC considered a summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce regarding the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2020-25 to enhance the export competitiveness of Pakistan through a framework of policy interventions. The proposed STPF 2020-25 also includes a monitoring and implementation mechanism. The underlying rationale is to enhance exports as a national priority through collaborative and cohesive efforts.
While speaking at the occasion, the Finance Minister directed that the factors related to a market-based realistic exchange rate must be incorporated under the proposed STPF 2020-25. The Finance Minister further stressed to include specific measures for encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and consolidation of the fragmented export industry in Pakistan.
After due deliberations, the Committee decided to review the draft of the STPF 2020-25 after having another consultative meeting with all relevant stakeholders and asked to present an updated policy framework before the next ECC for approval.
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The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) presented a summary regarding intervention price for the cotton crop for FY 2021-22. The ECC had earlier constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister for NFS&R for presenting recommendations to promote cotton production and bring price stability in the domestic market by monitoring local market prices.
The ECC deliberated over the recommendations by the Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC), and it was decided that another consultative session would be held with all key stakeholders on board, including M/O NFS&R, Finance Division, and Commerce, to finalize the recommendations and present the revised summary before Cabinet.
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The Finance Division tabled a summary to carry forward for FY 2021-22, the un-utilized cash component equal to Rs. 352 billion out of the Economic Stimulus Package, amounting to Rs. 1,240 billion (given in March 2020), to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to support the marginalized sections of the society.
The funds were allocated under the Economic Stimulus Package for the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, irrespective of the financial year.
Foregoing in view, the ECC re-validated the amount of Rs. 352 billion for the FY 2021-22 for meeting-related expenditures, including the procurement of vaccines for COVID-19 (during the ongoing fourth wave), as the Federal Government aims to vaccinate at least 85 million citizens by December 2021.
Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Privatization, Muhammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms & Austerity, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the PM on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood, Federal Secretaries, Chairman FBR, and other senior officers participated in the meeting.