No aim for relief on commercial loans: A-PM-FR Shaikh

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – May 21, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The technical supplementary grants approved by the economic coordination committee (ECC), Wednesday, are Rs. 360.515 million for the repair and maintenance of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) buildings in the federal capital and various cities; Rs. 3.836 billion in favour of housing and works ministry to execute development schemes in the Sindh province; and Rs. 291 million in favour of housing and works/Pakistan public works department (P-PWD) for payment of salary of maintenance staff of P-PWD.

According to an official statement, the adviser to the prime minister on finance and revenue (A-PM-FR) Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC of the cabinet.

ECC chairman unequivocally informed the forum that Pakistan has no intention of seeking any kind of relief for repayment of its commercial loans/borrowings.

On the recommendations of the committee, formed under the chairmanship of adviser to PM on institutional reforms and austerity and comprising finance division secretary and power division secretary to look into the issues of servicing of power sector loans and stock handling in a holistic manner, ECC allowed allocation of Rs.10 billion from stimulus package as a stop gap arrangement for the payment of interest on the Pakistan energy sukuk II for a period of 6 months or amendment in national electric power regulatory authority (NEPRA) act whichever is earlier.

Subject to the approval of the cabinet, ECC approved in principal to allow economic affairs division (EAD) to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for availing the group of twenty (G-20) relief initiative.

Pakistan is required to enter into this MoU with all official bilateral creditors including Paris club creditors to implement the debt relief initiative of G-20.

He also informed that Pakistan has the means and will to honour its commercial commitments.

ECC also approved the proposal of the revenue division for declaration of multi-modal transit hub Jia Bagga national logistics cell (NLC) transit port as customs clearance port under Section 9 of the customs act 1969.

In order to reduce the capacity charges of power generation companies through synthetic financing, ECC approved the terms of references (ToRs) for negotiations with independent power producers (IPPs)/generation companies (GENCOs) as recommended by a committee constituted by the cabinet committee on energy (CCOE) vide its decision dated April 2, 2020, under the chairmanship of power minister and comprising special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on mineral resources, finance division secretary, power secretary and law and justice division secretary.

The committee will submit its report in due course.

In order to manage and operate the prime minister’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic relief fund 2020, ECC approved the constitution of the policy committee with the following members: prime minister (PM) of Pakistan, as chairman, planning development and special initiatives (PDSI) minister, as member, A-PM-FR, as member, adviser to PM on commerce and investment, as member, SAPM on poverty alleviation and social safety, as member, PM’s focal person for corona philanthropy drive, as member, finance division secretary, as member, and poverty alleviation and social safety secretary, as secretary.

ToR for the proposed committee will be as follows: to decide on the appropriate usage of the proceeds deposited in the fund including means of identification of the beneficiaries of the fund and the parameters of their selection; to decide about the means of disbursement of assistance to the beneficiaries; to take any appropriate decisions for collection of donations, maintenance and administration of the fund and related matters.

In order to devise a comprehensive policy to incentivise “smart phone manufacturing in Pakistan” ECC constituted a committee under the chairmanship of industries and production minister and with members from ministries of information technology (IT) and industries, board of investment (BoI) and engineering development board (EDB).

The committee shall bring its proposals after consultation with all the relevant stakeholders in due course.

ECC also assigned the role of chairman, to industries and production minister Hammad Azhar, of the committee to oversee the effective utilisation of subsidies, Ramazan relief package and PM’s relief Package of 50 billion by utility stores corporation (USC).