ISLAMABAD:Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved Gas Load Management Plan (GLMP) for Winter Season and gave exemption to automobile sector up to 35% cash margin on Letter of Credit (LC). It was decided in its meeting that held under the chairmanship of Adviser to PM on Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Shaukat Tarin here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Tuesday
ECC directed Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to ensure provision of gas supply to domestic consumers. However, the burden of reduced supply will be equitably shared between power sector and industry.
It also considered the difficulties faced by the automobile sector, ECC allowed exemption from 35% cash margin on Letter of Credit (LC), while it directed the Ministry of Industries to form a committee comprising representatives from FBR, Finance Division and other stakeholders to firm up proposals that could further ease the problems of the automotive sector.
While reviewing the price situation the committee noted with concern that the despite the phenomenal decrease in international commodity prices, including petroleum products and their consequent reduction in Pakistan, commensurate decrease in local prices was not evident.
The ECC constituted a secretaries committee to closely monitor the behavior of domestic prices that depend on international prices and take measures to ensure that reduced prices are transferred to the people in Pakistan. In this regard it directed provincial governments to activate local price control committees and price magistrate to keep a vigilant eye on the prices.
In particular, it directed that transport fares have to come down and present situation was not acceptable. It also directed Ministry of Interior to take appropriate measures to ensure that fares are reduced immediately.
The ECC was informed that currently 2.6 million tones of wheat stock were available and import of 2.5 million tones of wheat will be completed by 31 December 2008. ECC decided to constitute a committee under the Minister for MINFAL, and comprising secretary commerce and other stakeholders, to investigate the problem of slow transportation of wheat from ports to down country and come up with appropriate proposals. ECC was further apprised that TCP was processing tenders for import of 250,000 metric tones of urea while the import of 100,000 metric tones of urea will be completed by December 15, 2008. ECC advised MINFAL to make a schedule for availability of urea in the market and ensure its supply to the growers on time. It further directed MINFAL to closely monitor sugar stocks in the country and up its recommendations, if any, for ECC’s consideration in its next meeting.
ECC was informed that foreign exchange reserves of the country stood at $9.1 billion on 30th November, 2008, bolstered by the receipt of first IMF tranche of $3.1 billion. It also noted that workers’ remittances during July-October, 2008 increased by 12.7 to $2346.0 million compared to the same period last year. Foreign direct investment $1321.2 million for same period registering a growth of 0.2 percent compared with the same period of last year, though the portfolio investment declined by $145 million for the same period.
With a view to speeding up the operationalization of the Gwadar Port ECC directed that all import consignments of wheat and fertilizer will be through this port whereas cement can also be exported from this port
On the recommendation of the Ministry of Water and Power ECC approved the proposal that for the expeditious development of pioneering projects in the private sector the tariff provisions of 2002 power policy and the mechanism developed by NEPRA were extended/made applicable to hydropower projects under 1995 Hydel Policy with minimum changes to the project agreements.
For increased availability of power, the ECC allowed rental power projects the same tax treatment as was applicable to rental power projects under WAPDA’s jurisdiction.
The ECC approved market intervention price of Rs.1465/- per 40 kg for seed cotton during 2008-2009 season based on current export parity price. It directed MINFAL and Ministry of Commerce to jointly work to make efficient procurement plan so that the small farmer benefits from this price and prices in general are stabilized. It further directed MINFAL to ensure that farmers’ facilitation was given top priority and intervention price was announced at the right time to motivate the farmers.
ECC further allowed procurement of 750,000 tones of additional wheat with better specifications, directing MINFAL to take into account any possible inflow of US wheat in a manner that our domestic requirements are met satisfactorily and wheat stock position remains adequate.
ECC also approved a credit guarantee scheme for small banks in order to help them maintain liquidity through availability of credit facilities from SBP. The scheme will be implemented by SBP, which will ensure its effective utilization with the objective to ensure sound operation of the banking system. -SANA