SIFC’s Apex Committee Seeks Plan for Boosting Industrial Competitiveness

The Executive Committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has sought a financial plan to address the issue of cross-subsidy for domestic consumers in order to boost industrial competitiveness.

According to Business Recorder, the apex committee has directed Secretaries of Power, Commerce, and Finance to devise a strategy to cut electricity costs by introducing a 1 cent/unit wheeling cost, restructuring of power sector debt, and forming a committee on capacity charges.

Secretary Petroleum and Secretary Commerce have been tasked with providing the Executive Committee with a schedule for the adoption of WACOG; assessing the overall financial implications and needs for allocating priority gas supply to the export sector; and preparing a merit order for supplying gas for power production.

Meanwhile, SBP Governor, Secretary Finance, Commerce, and Petroleum will report on issues in the settlement of imports/exports in Pakistani Rupee and Chinese Yuan (RMB); settlement via Asian Clearing Union, issues in restoring cash over counter facility, banking clearance for Afghan/Iran transit, monitoring of banking transactions and dollar hoarding.

At the next meeting, the Secretaries of Commerce and Finance will propose a financially viable and IMF-compliant mechanism to improve the coverage of the Export Facilitation Scheme (EFS) at all stages.

The EXIM Bank revival strategy and its prospects for contributing to the financial strengthening of the economy will be presented at the next Executive Committee meeting.

A plan for further rationalization of 6500 import tariff lines, including zero percent tariffs on the import of 2,212 tariff lines of raw materials/ intermediates will be presented at the upcoming SIFC meeting.

The Secretary of Commerce and the Chairman FBR will propose a mechanism to reduce the smuggling of fabric of all kinds, machinery, tires, and black tea. Authorities will also examine the impact and viability of imposing a processing fee of $10 per shipment on the aforementioned items.

Another plan to ascertain the benefits of increasing the criteria for scanning all ATT cargo at border stations has been sought by the apex committee. Elsewhere, officials will reevaluate the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and inform the SIFC Executive Committee of new APTTA negotiations that are currently underway.



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