ECC okays subsidy continuation on five items through USC

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved subsidy on five essential items through Utility Stores Corporation (USC) till June 30; however, it deferred the approval of the textiles policy and review of margins of oil marketing companies (OMCs) and dealers.
Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the ECC meeting on Thursday.
Ministry of Industries and Production presented three proposals related to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) before the ECC. The ECC considered and approved the first proposal regarding continuation of general subsidy on five essential items through Utility Stores Corporation (USC) from 01.01.2021 to 30.06.2021 out of funds allocated under Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020 in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondly, Ministry of Industries and Production proposed to approve re-allocation of Rs2.332 billion for ERP procurement and IT infrastructure for automation of stock management throughout the network of USCs. The ECC approved in principle, with a direction to hold further consultation with the Ministry of Information Technology and Ministry of Finance for smooth implementation.
Furthermore, it was decided that the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) would present a revised proposal after working out a specific percentage range(s) of differential from market prices for subsidizing essential commodities through the Ministry of Industries and Production before the next ECC meeting. The percentage range(s) would serve as a benchmark for subsidising the essential commodities through Utility Stores Corporations, keeping in view fluctuations in international commodity prices.
On Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25 by the Ministry of Commerce, the ECC decided to include SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar in the sub-committee for detailed consultation on proposals related to the power sector which fall under the ambit of the Textile Policy. The Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25 would be presented before ECC in a couple of weeks.
The Petroleum Division presented a summary before ECC to review the margins of oil marketing companies (OMCs) and dealers on petroleum products. After due deliberation, the ECC decided that proposed rates for the increase would be considered after a detailed study by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).
A sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood including SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Minister for Planning Asad Umar and SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar as its members to evaluate outcome of the PIDE study and present a revised summary before the ECC accordingly.
The ECC considered and approved another summary by the Power Division regarding Implementation Agreement, Supplemental Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement for 300 MW Coal Power Project at Gwadar. On the recommendation of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), ECC approved allocation of 22MMCFD of gas to the SSGCL system from Sujjal-I, Sujawal-X-I and Aqeeq-I wells of Mari Petroleum Company Limited.
Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented the Zaireen Management Policy before ECC for consideration. The underlying rationale is to regulate, streamline and provide better facilities to Zaireen (pilgrims) for performing religious obligations in an organised manner. The ECC approved the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Office at Quetta and Taftan at an estimated expenditure of Rs38.50 million. \
Moreover, the ECC also considered the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Offices at Mashhad (Iran), Karbala and Baghdad (Iraq) and directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to seek formal consent / approval from the host countries through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
National Electricity Policy 2021 was placed before ECC by the Power Division. After detailed discussion, ECC referred the above policy to Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) for consideration with the advice that the policy may be referred back to ECC (with recommendations) if the subject falls in the domain of the ECC. The committee further directed to take all provinces on board during the consultative process. – TLTP

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