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ECC APPROVES RS 1.5 BILLION RAMADAN PACKAGE

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Islamabad:(APS) April 30, 2015;ECC of the Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday approved Rs 1.5 billion Ramadan package as compared to the Rs. 1.4 billion approved last year.

The Government, the Chair said allowed the special price relaxation despite already dropping prices of necessities owing to low level of inflation. This step was meant to further facilitate general public throughout the country during the holy month of Ramadan. Finance Division would provide upfront payment of Rs 1 billion to the USC to buy the items before Ramadan. These include flour (atta), sugar, ghee/oil, pulses(dal channa, dal moong washed, dal mash washed, dal masoor, white gram)  baisen,  dates, basmati rice, sela rice, broken rice, squashes and syrups(900 ml bottle) black tea, milk(Tetra pack) and spices. The ECC also decided that USC would run a media campaign from its own resources apprising the public about the special package. Further, the Ministry of Industries and the USC would submit a report to the ECC by middle of Ramadan about the implementation status of the package.

The ECC approved proposal of the Ministry of IT to operationalize the  already opened, non-lapsable Personal Ledger Accounts(PLAs) of USF and R&D funds subject to amendments in R&D and USF rules. This has been allowed to facilitate telecom operators in utilization of above said funds for execution of projects, especially those relating to rural and underserved areas.

The ECC on a proposal from the FBR allowed levy of 2% regulatory duty on petroleum crude oil, motor spirit oil and furnace oil. Approval was also accorded for imposition of 2.5 % regulatory duty on high speed diesel. Both regulatory duties would be levied with effect from 1st June 2015. The step is aimed to recoup some of the revenue losses due to persistent fall in petroleum products in the current financial year.

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The ECC today also accorded approval for the balance amount of USD 35.96 million for induction of 15 aircrafts on dry lease in the PIA fleet. It may be recalled that the ECC in its meeting held on 6th December 2014 had approved in principle, an amount of USD 52 million and provision of first tranche of USD 16.44 million for these aircrafts. The provision of balance amount consequently was allowed today. PIA has arranged 10 A-320 and 5-ATR-72 aircrafts on dry lease, the Aviation Division’s proposal mentioned. The Chair with consensus of the house directed the Secretary Aviation Division that an overall reformation in all departments and services of the PIA was required. Induction of new aircrafts was a good step but quality of services needed a major improvement.

Moving a proposal regarding Pakistan Power Sector Reform, the Secretary m/o W&P informe4d the meeting that pursuant to the 1992 Power Sector Reform plan approved by Council of Common Interest (CCI) the function of transmission of electric power and transmission facilities vested in NTDC (the “System operations”). The System Operations was being conducted by NTDC through its various divisions. The reform plan also envisioned the creation of a competitive wholesale power market that would benefit the power sector and the Pakistan economy in general via newly introduced profit incentives, an increase in managerial autonomy and an improvement in managerial accountability.

Accordingly for the foregoing, the ECC of the Cabinet today approved that the function of operation and development of power market would be carried out through CPPA-G. ECC also approved the separation of CPPA from NTDC.

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