ECC approves Rs 1.5b Ramzan package


Levies 2pc regulatory duty on crude oil, motor spirit oil and furnace oil, 2.5pc on high speed diesel from June 1

A meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, chaired by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Thursday approved Rs 1.5 billion Ramzan package as compared to last year’s Rs 1.4 billion wrap up.

Addressing on the occasion, the minister said the government allowed special price relaxation despite already dropping prices of necessities owing to low level of inflation. This step was meant to further facilitate the general public throughout the country during the holy month of Ramzan, he added.

Per details, the Finance Division would provide upfront payment of Rs 1 billion to the USC to buy the items before Ramzan. These include wheat flour, sugar, ghee/oil, pulses (dal channa, dal moong washed, dal mash washed, dal masoor, white gram) baisan, dates, basmati rice, sela rice, broken rice, squashes and syrups(900 ml bottle), tea, processed milk and spices.

The ECC also approved proposal of the Ministry of Information Technology to operationalise 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 utilisation of the above said funds for execution of projects, especially those relating to rural and underserved areas.

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

Furthermore, the ECC also accorded approval for the balance amount of $ 35.96 million for induction of 15 aircrafts on dry lease in the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) fleet.

It may be recalled that the ECC, in its meeting held on December 6, 2014, had approved in principle, an amount of $ 52 million and provision of first tranche of $ 16.44 million for these aircrafts. The provision of balance amount consequently was allowed.

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 Aviation Division secretary 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, said the minister.

Moving a proposal regarding Pakistan Power Sector Reform, the Water and Power Ministry secretary informed 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 National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).

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 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.