Ishaq Dar chairs ECC meeting

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s Office.

ECC has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources regarding allocation of additional around 50 MMCFD available gas from Habib Rahi Limestone (HRL) reservoir to Thermal Power Station Guddu (TPSG/GENCO-II) subject to installation of compression plant by TPSG/GENCO-II and allocation of additional upto 26 MMCFD available gas from HRL reservoir to M/s Engro Fertilizer Ltd’s old plant for continuation of the plant.

ECC recommended the proposal of the Revenue Division/FBR for extension of the period of applicability of existing reduced withholding tax rate of 0.4 percent for non-filers of income tax returns from 1st January 2017 to 31st March 2017.

The Finance Division apprised the ECC that State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) principal debt amounting Rs 54.460 billion outstanding against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), as on December 31, 2015, is being converted into redeemable preference shares carrying a profit of 7.5 percent per annum, redeemable in 10 years in one bullet payment on December 31, 2025. In this regard, the ECC of the Cabinet approved issuance of guarantee of Rs 54.460 billion by the Government of Pakistan in favour of SBP for principal debt of the preference shares and returns thereon.

ECC also decided to allow export of 225,000 MT of sugar from the surplus available after ascertaining that there would be 1.23 million metric tons of surplus sugar available in the country. ECC also decided that the Ministry of Commerce should ensure that there are adequate checks and balances available to maintain the price stability in the domestic market at the current level. In case the domestic price stability is disturbed, Commerce Ministry would bring Summary to consider cancelling the export permission to sugar exporters. Unlike previous years, it was decided that there will be no freight / export rebate payable by the Government to sugar exporters on such exports. Furthermore, only those mills will be allowed to export which have cleared outstanding dues of farmers relating to the last season and have started crushing at full capacity.

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