Hafeez Shaikh tests positive for coronavirus: Hammad Azhar

ECC approves Rs 7.8 billion Ramazan Relief Package

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Islamabad: The Cabinet Economic Coordinating Committee (ECC) on Wednesday approved a relief plan for the 2021 Ramadan of Rs 7,821 crore to provide maximum relief to marginalized groups during the holy month of Ramadan.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance here, the ECC meeting was chaired by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister of Finance and Taxation.

The relief package was presented before the committee by Ministry of Industries in accordance with the directive of the Prime Minister.

Under the proposed package, the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) would subsidize 19 essential items, entailing subsidy equivalent to approximately Rs 7.8 billion including wheat flour, sugar and ghee which have significant differential vis-a-vis prevailing prices in the domestic markets.

On the occasion, the Managing Director (MD), USC briefed the forum that procurement would start from April 01, to ensure availability of basic items at discounted prices across 4000 outlets of USCs throughout the country.

The committee directed MD USC to coordinate with the Finance Department to release funds in a timely manner to ensure timely procurement and other contingent arrangements.

The Ministry of Industry and Production also submitted another abstract to seek permission to operate the Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer plants from March to November 2021 to produce urea from the plant of Sui Northern Gas Petroleum Limited.

The rationale is to bridge the gap between the country’s estimated demand for urea and actual domestic production.

The committee approved the operation of the above-mentioned factories and instructed the ministry to closely monitor the supply and demand situation and decide whether to import urea as needed during the year.

On this occasion, the Minister of National Health Service, Regulations and Coordination submitted a summary to exempt the import of auto-prohibited syringes and the raw materials required to manufacture auto-prohibited syringes locally in the country.

The Minister of Health briefly introduced to the forum the efforts to switch from traditional syringes to automatic banned syringes, because the repeated use of traditional syringes can lead to blood-borne diseases in Pakistan, such as hepatitis and HIV.

The ECC approved the summary, in principle, and directed the Ministry of Health to hold a follow-up meeting with the Law Division to fine tune details.

The ECC also considered a summary regarding exemption of Federal Excise Duty for 10 soft-skin vehicles imported by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to be used by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) for locust control operations.

The Ministry of NFS&R requested for a one-time exemption of Federal Excise Duty amounting to Rs.10.3 million for 10 vehicles. After due deliberation, the ECC constituted a Committee with representatives from Law Division, FBR and Ministry of National Food Security and Research for further discussion and submission of updated proposal before the Committee.

The Ministry of Commerce tabled a summary before the ECC seeking permission for import of cotton from Afghanistan and Central Asian States through land route via Torkham border to bridge the gap between supply and demand and to ensure sufficient availability of cotton for promoting textile exports.

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