ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved proposals submitted by the Ministry of Industries & Production for payment of salaries to the employees of Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) and Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM). The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held at the Cabinet Block today with Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue, in the chair, PID reported. The ECC directed the Finance Division to release one month’s salary amounting to Rs 355 million for the month of June to the PSM employees and further authorise it to arrange for payment of projected net salary of Rs 4097 million to the PSM employees for the Financial Year 2019-20 to be disbursed every month to PSM. Similarly, the ECC approved a proposal for payment of Rs 128 million for the salaries for the month of February to May 2019 to the employees of the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory and directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to hold a meeting with the Strategic Plan Division, Commerce Division, Sindh Building Control & Sindh Revenue Control to finalise a plan to hand over the PMTF to the SPD after clearance of all liabilities. On another summary submitted by the Power Division, the ECC approved the proposal for reflection in electricity bills of a subsidy by the Government of Sindh for 4514 consumers of Taluka Islamkot in terms of payment of all charges of consumers using 100 or lesser units of electricity on actual charges as well as a flat subsidy of Rs 800 to be given to domestic consumers using more than 100 units. The meeting decided that in case the Government of Sindh failed to pay the subsidy in any future situation for a period of three months, the same amount be deducted at source by the federal government. The ECC, on a summary submitted by the Ministry of Energy, also approved a proposal for budgetary allocation on annual basis for payment to Asia Petroleum Limited (APL) through Pakistan State Oil under a technical supplementary grant from the current financial year and onwards against accumulating shortfall in guaranteed throughput due to reduced demand in refined furnace oil by HUBCO ECC asked the Ministry of Energy to take quick remedial measures for offsetting the accumulating shortfall by engaging local refineries for using APL’s network as reverse pipeline until the contractual obligation ending in 2027. The ECC, on a summary submitted by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, also approved a proposal regarding necessary amendments & exemptions in Income Tax Ordinance, Sales Tax Act and Custom Act for the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone and asked the Law Division to suggest a way forward for their implementation and bring it up in the next Cabinet meeting in consultation with the Commerce Division, Planning Division, Maritime Division, Federal Board of Revenue and Board of Investment. The ECC was also briefed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on the wheat situation in the country with the prices of wheat showing a slight drop in recent days. The ECC was told that the wheat stocks in the country were 7.516 million tons as on 16-08-2019 as compared to 10.950 million tons of the corresponding period of last year. Similarly, around 0.369 million tons of wheat and 0.198 million tons of wheat flour had been exported through sea and land route from the period 01-07-2018 to 16-08-2019. Later, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE). The meeting discussed a proposal submitted by the Power Division and approved settlement of liquidated damages with Rousch Power (Pakistan) Limited on the principles that the period during which the operation of the power plant remained suspended due to non-availability of fuel would be declared as ‘Other Force Majeure Event (OMFE)’ and the term of the PPA would be extended correspondingly to OMFE period; the capacity payments paid during the period shall be recovered through adjustment against the late payment interest invoices of the Company along with the late payment interest at the rate of 50% of the total interest worked out up to the date of settlement agreement in lieu of waiving off right of the Company to claim interest; and the period during which the IPP was unable to make available the capacity and net electrical output on account of non-supply of gas/ shall be treated as an ‘Other Force Majeure Event (OFME)’ under the PPA. Accordingly, the Company would not be entitled to Capacity Payments during such period and the power purchaser would not be entitled to impose LDs on the Company. On a summary submitted by the Ministry of Water Resources, the CCoE approved a report of the Ministry of Water Resources for mitigating adverse effects on the river water quality because of less flows and reduction in water supply for Muzaffarabad city due to Neelum Jhehlum Hydropower Project. The CCoE further approved amendments to decisions of the Cabinet Committee on Energy held on 27th February 2019.