Federal Minister for Finance chairs meeting of Economic Coordination Committee of Cabinet

Islamabad, August 12, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) here Wednesday.

ECC at the outset considered and approved the proposal moved by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for extension in the period for export of surplus wheat from Punjab and Sindh provinces till 30th September 2015. In an earlier decision on January 20th 2015, ECC had allowed the export of 8,00,000 M/tons of wheat by the government of Punjab at the transport rebate of US$ 55 per M/ton and 400000 M/T of wheat by the Government of Sindh at the transport rebate of US$ 45 per M/ton.

Later on 9th February, the ECC also allowed export of wheat flour (aata) with specific time lines. However, in view of further requests from Pakistan Flour Mills Association, the date for export of wheat and wheat flour has been extended till 30th September 2015.

ECC also approved the exemption of 5% sales tax on wheat bran. The Chairman FBR informed the Chair that flour, the main product of the flour industry was exempt from sales tax and imposing a tax on its by product, bran was creating an anomaly which had to be removed. Accordingly, the ECC allowed the exemption of sales tax on bran.

ECC considered proposal by the Ministry of Communication for grant of EPC (Engineering design, procurement and construction) contracts to the firms recommended by the Government of China through competitive bidding for the KKH Phase-II and Karachi-Lahore Motorway projects being undertaken by NHA.

The ECC expressed its concurrence, noting that the mechanism for such projects was already covered under article-II of the Framework Agreement signed by Pakistan and China in April with the approval of the competent authority. The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet also granted approval for the issuance of Sovereign Guarantee by the Ministry of Finance in respect of syndicated term finance facility amounting to Rs. 7.487 billion for the power sector.

ECC had a detailed discussion on the proposal submitted by Ministry of Food Security and Research regarding pending payments to PASSCO by Afghanistan Government for supply of wheat. The meeting approved the claim as prepared by PASSCO and also accorded approval for the payment to M/s Abdullah Khan and Imranullah Khan, hired by PASSCO for transportation of wheat.

It may be recalled that Pakistan and Afghanistan had signed an agreement in 2008 for supply of 50,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan. ECC discussed Automotive Development Policy 2015-20 and Telecommunications Policy 2015, giving directions to line ministries to resubmit the policies for approval after incorporating the improvements as suggested by the forum.

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