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April 15, 2021 (PR No. 475)

POL Prices

In order to provide relief to the consumers during the holy month of Ramazan, the Government has decided to reduce the prices of the Petroleum Products. The new prices effective from 16th April 2021 will be as follows:

Products

Existing Prices w.e.f.
01-04-2021

New Prices
w.e.f.
16-04-2021
Decrease
(Rs. Per Liter)
MS (Petrol) 110.35 108.56 -1.79
HSD 113.08 110.76 -2.32
Kerosene (SKO) 82.06 80.00 -2.06
LDO 79.86 77.65 -2.21

 
April 15, 2021 (PR No. 475)

Ambassador of Japan called on the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production/p>

His Excellency Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, the Ambassador of Japan called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, at the Finance Division today. Mr. Ishii Kensuke, Commercial Counsellor and Ms. Soma Mayuko, Second Secretary also accompanied H.E. Ambassador on the occasion.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan and Japan have enjoyed cordial and friendly relations over the years and this relationship will continue to become even stronger with every passing day. The Finance Minister appreciated the support extended by the Government of Japan for infrastructural and institutional development in Pakistan. Japan is a major development partner of Pakistan, he added.

The Finance Minister and the Japanese Ambassador discussed issues of mutual interest. The Finance Minister underlined the initiatives taken by the Government which led to economic turnaround. Pakistan’s primary deficit has been converted into a surplus due to strict adherence to fiscal discipline. Pakistan’s fiscal response to COVID-19 has been prudent and well-targeted, including re-allocation of spending to the most vulnerable segments through the landmark Ehsaas program.

His Excellency Ambassador of Japan said that Japan greatly values its bilateral relations with Pakistan. He briefed the Finance Minister about operations of the Japanese entities in Pakistan and expressed confidence that business and economic linkages would further strengthen between the two countries. Both reviewed the spectrum of business and investment relations and identified areas for further strengthening and expanding economic cooperation.

The Finance Minister lauded the valuable investment by Japan in various sectors particularly in the automobile sector and affirmed to facilitate Japanese investors and businessmen for undertaking major investment initiatives amid rising demand for innovative business products and services in Pakistan. He also commended the contribution of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for socio-economic development and reform initiatives aimed at poverty reduction & human development in the country.

The Finance Minister thanked the H.E. Kuninori Matsuda for his efforts in furthering Pakistan-Japan relations, on the occasion.

 
April 14, 2021 (PR No. 474)

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Federal Secretaries, senior representatives of Provincial governments, Chairman BOI and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan joined through a video link.

Power Division presented a summary regarding waiver of minimum 66% Take-or-Pay commitment in Power Purchase Agreement(s) (PPA) & Gas Supply Agreement(s) (GSA) of three RLNG based Public Sector Power Plants namely Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Plant, Balloki Power Plant and Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant. These amendments would envisage submission of a Monthly Production Plan (MPP) as a binding on the Power Purchaser and the Power Seller wherein the Power Purchaser shall be entitled to submit demand requirement as needed, at least seventy five days before the start of each such month, which will be finalized by the System Operator and Operating Committee under the PPA. The concept of a Monthly Delivery Plan (MDP) for deliveries of Gas under the GSA, has been paired with the Monthly Schedule as provided under PPA. The MPP will come into effect from the year 2022.

After seeking input from relevant stakeholders, the Committee approved the summary and appreciated the concept of Monthly Production Plan (MPP) as a cost-effective solution, enabling the Power and Gas purchasers to make requisite purchases in line with actual requirements instead of following a fixed arrangement.

Power Division also presented another summary proposing amendment to the Facilitation Agreement and Amendment to the GoP Guarantee Agreement with KAPCO. It included the proposal that the project may be withdrawn from the Privatization Commission and entrusted to Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB). After due deliberation, the Committee approved the summary, in principle, subject to formal vetting by the Law Division.

Secretary, M/o Commerce presented a summary before the ECC for withdrawal of Customs Duty on import of Cotton Yarns under PCT 5205, 5206 and 5207 till 30th June, 2021. The Committee approved the withdrawal of Customs duty to ensure smooth supply of cotton and cotton yarns to the value-added industry, while bridging the gap between domestic production and overall demand for the inputs.

The ECC also approved a Technical Supplementary Grant for Finance division amounting to Rs.11.7 billion as the share of the Federal Government for the establishment of 4 mother and child hospitals in Punjab.

 
April 12, 2021 (PR No. 473)

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production chaired the meeting of the NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o National Food Security and Research, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, MD Utility Stores Corporation, senior representatives of the Provincial governments, Member PBS and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, chicken, eggs and vegetables during the last week. The Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about the weekly SPI, where prices of 13 basic commodities registered a decline and 20 items remained stable during the week under review. Essential commodities including Flour (-0.7%), sugar (-3%), eggs (-1.4%) and pulses (-0.5%) recorded a decline due to improved availability. Non-food items including LPG (-2.3%) and electricity charges (-1.3%) also recorded a decline.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the Committee about the sufficient stock of wheat across the country. While reviewing the overall prices of wheat flour, the Finance Minister sought details from all the four Provinces regarding procurement targets and prevailing market prices.

The Committee observed prices of 20kg wheat flour bags were significantly higher in Sindh (Karachi 1,200 & Hyderabad Rs 1,230) compared to prices in other provinces (Peshawar Rs 964, Quetta Rs 960, Islamabad Rs 864 and Lahore Rs 860). The Finance Minister specifically asked the representative of the Sindh government to explain why prices were higher in Sindh and what measures had been taken to control rising prices of wheat flour. The representative of the Sindh government highlighted that higher procurement price set by the province (@ Rs 2,000 / 40kg) was the reason for higher flour prices in Sindh as compared to other provinces and no effective price control strategy had yet been formulated in the Province.

With the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, the Punjab government updated the committee that 313 “Ramadan / Sahulat Bazaars” have been established to provide maximum relief to the consumers by offering basic commodities at discounted prices. The Finance Minister directed the respective Provincial governments to establish sufficient number of Ramadan Bazaars to ensure provision of basic need items at affordable prices across the board, he stressed.

The MD, Utility Stores Corporation (USC) apprised the NPMC about the arrangements being made to ensure uninterrupted supply of basic commodities namely wheat flour, rice, pulses, sugar, vegetable ghee and others at subsidized prices under the “Ramadan Relief Package” across its chain of outlets throughout the country. The Finance Minister directed MD, USC to firm up a plan to ensure all the basic items are well-stocked and available to the masses at discounted prices. The Finance Secretary informed the Committee that the Finance Division has released requisite funds and would facilitate further to enable USC replenish its stock (as needed) during the holy month.

The Finance Minister also reviewed the prices and supply position of sugar across all Provinces. The Additional Secretary, M/o Industries and Production briefed the Committee about continuous downward trend in international prices of sugar which will reduce the upward pressure on sugar prices in domestic markets.

The Finance Minister urged the Provincial governments to take strict administrative measures to ensure smooth supply of sugar at fair prices during Ramadan.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister emphasized the need for mobilizing district administrations and departments concerned to curtail profiteering and hoarding through smooth supply of basic commodities at affordable prices throughout the country.

 
April 09, 2021 (PR No. 472)

Chairman and President ZTBL called on the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production

The Chairman of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) Board Nadeem Lodhi and President of the ZTBL Mohammad Shahbaz Jameel called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, at the Finance Division today.

The Chairman ZTBL Board briefed the Finance Minister about the working and operations of the Bank. ZTBL, a leading agro-financing bank in Pakistan, has been extending loans to poor farmers aimed at boosting national agriculture and empowering farmers at the grass root level. He also updated the Finance Minister about formation of the new Board and assured to further enhance the capacity of the bank in boosting agro-farming in the country.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction with the steps taken to reform ZTBL Board and hoped new management will augment the specialized operations of the Bank.

He affirmed support and facilitation to the newly-appointed Chairman ZTBL Board and President ZTBL for smooth working on the occasion.

 
April 09, 2021 (PR No. 471)

Delegation of Stone Crushing Associations called on the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production

A delegation of senior members of Stone Crushing Associations, led by the Minister for Labour and Human Resource, Punjab Mr. Ansar Majeed Khan, called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, at the Finance Division today. Additional Secretary, M/o Industries and Production, Member (Operations) FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The senior members of the Stone Crushing Association briefed the Finance Minister about the operations of the Store Crushing Industry which is an important pillar of the Construction industry as a whole. The delegation also apprised the Finance Minister about matters related to taxation, especially sales tax and requested to streamline the whole process by removing anomalies to facilitate stone crushing industry across the board.

While welcoming the delegation, the Finance Minister stated that stone crushing is of fundamental importance as it provides building blocks for the construction Industry. He lauded the valuable contribution of the industry and assured full cooperation and facilitation on the occasion.

The Finance Minister directed FBR to hold consultative sessions with the representatives of the Stone Crushing Associations and work out modalities for smooth enforcement of taxation benchmarks (with sub-categories) after evolving consensus among key stakeholders.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the government in promoting Construction Industry which has triggered an impressive growth underpinning V-shape recovery amid COVID-19 pandemic. He outlined various stimulus measures taken by the Government to support the overall Construction Industry that led to a strong rebound in economic activity during the crisis, he added.

The Members of the Stone Crushing Associations complimented the Finance Minister on assuming additional responsibilities and thanked him for his continuous support and facilitation.

 
April 08, 2021 (PR No. 470)

Pakistan has entered the international capital market after a gap of over three years

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT BEING MADE IN AND COPIES OF IT MAY NOT BE DISTRIBUTED OR SENT INTO THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AUSTRALIA OR JAPAN.

Pakistan has entered the international capital market after a gap of over three years by successfully raising USD 2.5 billion through a multi-tranche transaction of 5, 10 and 30 year Eurobonds. The transaction generated great interest as leading global investors from Asia, Middle East, Europe and the US participated in the global investor calls and the order book.

This is for the first time that Pakistan has adopted a program-based approach with registration of Global Medium-Term Note (GMTN) program. The program will allow Pakistan to tap the market at short notice. The Government intends to make full use of this program and become a regular issuer in the International Capital Markets.

The information contained in this press release is for information purposes only and does not purport to be full or complete. No reliance may be placed for any purpose on the information contained in this press release or its accuracy or completeness.

This press release does not contain or constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, securities to any person in the United States or in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful, and persons into whose possession this press release comes should inform themselves about, and observe, any such restrictions. The securities referred to herein have not been, and will not be, registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), or the securities laws of any state of the United States or other jurisdiction, and such securities may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, within the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state or local securities laws.

Subject to certain exceptions, the securities referred to herein may not be offered or sold in Australia, Canada or Japan or to, or for the account or benefit of, any national, resident or citizen of Australia, Canada or Japan. The offer and sale of the securities referred to herein has not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act or under the applicable securities laws of Australia, Canada or Japan. There will be no public offer of the securities in the United States.

This press release is only being distributed to and is only directed at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) to investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) or (iii) high net worth entities, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons together being referred to as relevant persons) or (iv) other persons to whom this press release may otherwise be distributed without contravention of the Order. The securities are only available to, and any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such securities will be engaged in only with, relevant persons. Any person who is not a relevant person should not act or rely on this press release or any of its content

 
April 07, 2021 (PR No. 469)

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Federal Secretaries, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, Chairman BOI and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

Power Division presented a summary for a one-time grant to GENCOs for onward payment to DISCOs regarding the actuarial value of pension and pensionary benefits of surplus employees and also taking over the liability for payment of pension to existing pensioners of power plants which are decided to be closed immediately by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE).

After seeking detailed input from relevant stakeholders, the Committee directed the Power Division to deliberate further and present options for cost optimization regarding pension liabilities.

The Aviation Division submitted a summary before the ECC regarding restructuring plan of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Ltd (PIACL). The Adviser to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity made a detailed presentation on human resource and operational restructuring of the PIACL. He drew attention to the various options for restructuring and outlined measures to minimize losses and transform PIACL into a financially viable entity. It included human resource restructuring through Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), hiring Aviation experts, fleet modernization, routes rationalization, product development and revenue enhancement measures.

After detailed consultation, the ECC recommended the restructuring plan of PIACL for onward submission before the Cabinet, after reconciliation of tax liability figures, with a direction to place a cap on future debt which PIACL could take against its improved balance sheet, once restructuring plan is implemented.

The Following Technical Supplementary Grants were approved by the ECC: -

· Rs.330 million for the Ministry of Defence for the maintenance of aircrafts.

· Rs.2382 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for the Prime Minister’s Special Package to implement “Skill for All” strategy for TVET sector.

· Rs.1 billion for the Finance Division to refund the balance amount of funds of Insaf Imdad Ehsas Program.

· Rs.382.280 million for the Ministry of Energy for completion of development schemes of Sindh and Balochistan provinces under PSDP.

· Rs.150 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works for funding civil works on different schemes in Balochistan, under PSDP.

· Rs.30 million for the Board of Investment for different operational expenses.

· Rs.280 million for the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications for consultancy and implementation of Internet voting (I-voting).

 
April 07, 2021 (PR No. 468)

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production chaired the meeting of CCOSOEs

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, chaired the meeting of Cabinet Committee on State Owned Enterprises (CCOSOEs) today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Mohammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain and SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood also participated in the meeting.

Finance Division presented a summary before the Committee regarding approval of Terms of Reference (TORs) for forensic audit of the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in accordance with the earlier decision of the CCOSOEs dated 20th Jan, 2021.

The Secretary Finance presented revised TORs for forensic audit by the AGP Office and private Audit firm(s) to identify gaps with a clear focus on suggesting improved procedures for quality assurance and cost minimization. The forensic audit will also identify circumstances leading to losses incurred by SOEs, besides identifying suspicious and fraudulent transactions (if any) for fixing responsibility.

After due deliberation, the Committee approved the revised TORs for forensic audit of the State Owned Enterprises to be followed by the AGP Office as well as private audit firm(s) to be hired as per PPRA rules.

The Secretary Finance further apprised that PIACL has informed that a special audit of the Pakistan International Airlines (including its subsidiaries) was conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan. Therefore, it was recommended that forensic audit of the PIACL may be carried out through a well-reputed private sector firm after following PPRA rules. The Committee considered and approved the said proposal.

The Committee stressed to exercise due diligence and complete the process of forensic audit at the earliest to expedite the process of bringing reforms in SOEs.

 
April 06, 2021 (PR No. 467)

Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission called on the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production

The Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission Ms. Nargis Sethi called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, at the Finance Division today. The Finance Secretary also participated in the meeting.

The Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission briefed the Finance Minister about the working of the Pay and Pension Commission to streamline the existing Pay and Pension structure as per mandate of the Commission. She updated the Finance Minister about the consultative process being followed to ensure all stakeholders are onboard in working out a financially viable solution for disbursement of Pay and Pensions. The current pension payment system is a massive burden on our economy, she added.

The Finance Minister underscored that the current model for disbursements of Pay and Pensions in not sustainable and there’s a need to rationalize salaries, pensions, allowances, perks etc by removing anomalies to ensure equity. The Finance Minister stressed to find a way forward which is transparent, feasible and sustainable in the long run. He extended full support and facilitation to the Commission on the occasion.

The Chairperson also apprised the Finance Minister about working of sub-committees which have been assigned terms of reference to deliberate and present firmed-up proposals for harmonisation of Pay and Pension system across the country.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the Pay and Pension Commission has a very challenging task ahead as the Federal and Provincial Government employees are looking forward with great hope towards the recommendations of the Commission.

 
April 05, 2021 (PR No. 466)

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production chaired the meeting of the NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Additional Secretary M/o Industries and Production, senior representatives of the Provincial governments, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Member CCP, MD PASSCO and senior officials of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, chicken and eggs during the last week. The Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about weekly SPI, which decreased by 0.43% whereas prices of 12 basic commodities registered a decline and 24 items remained stable during the week under review, he added.

The Secretary, M/o NFS&R briefed the Committee about the sufficient stock of wheat across the country. The overall release position by the respective Provinces was also reviewed during the meeting. Taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed the representatives of the Provincial government to take appropriate measures for keeping prices of the wheat flour bags in check. The NPMC urged the provinces to take all possible measures to ensure smooth supply of wheat at fair prices across the board.

All the four Provinces briefed the Finance Minister about their on-going wheat procurement plans. The Finance Minister reviewed the procurement plans of the Provinces and issued strict directions to assure that the wheat must be procured in a smooth and timely manner in coordination with all Federal and Provincial organizations. He expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made and initiatives taken by the Provincial Governments in this regard.

The Punjab government updated the Committee about setting up Ramzan/Sahulat Bazaars for providing essential commodities at subsidized rates during the Holy month. The Committee directed the representatives of the Provincial governments to ensure provision of basic commodities at discounted prices through Ramadan/Sahulat Bazaars in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.

The MD USC also briefed the Committee about the measures being taken to ensure availability of basic need items at subsidized prices under the “Ramadan Relief Package” through chain of outlets across the country. The Finance Minister directed MD USC to ensure uninterrupted supply of basic commodities at Utility Stores outlets during Ramadan.

The Finance Minister sought details from the Provincial Food Secretaries regarding prevailing sugar prices in respective markets and directed to strictly monitor the prices of sugar (at retail levels) to ensure steady supply and counter price disparity effectively. The Additional Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production updated the Committee about slight decrease in international prices of sugar which will reduce the upward pressure on sugar prices in domestic markets.

The Finance Minister stated that controlling inflation is the top most priority of the Government and emphasised the need for coordinated and consolidated efforts by all concerned to provide essential items to the general public at fair prices, he concluded.

 
April 03, 2021 (PR No. 465)

Prime Minister has approved the re-constitution of Economic Advisory Council (EAC)

The Prime Minister has approved the re-constitution of Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to recommend macro-economic stablization measures and carry forward the reform agenda for robust and sustained economic growth. The EAC shall be chaired by the Prime Minister. Minister for Finance and Revenue shall be the Vice Chairman. The EAC shall include private sector members as well as official members.

The Economic Advisory Council will have an advisory and capacity enhanacement relationship with the Government of Pakistan. It will engage with economic institutions collaboratively and synergetically. The EAC will follow the consultative process and suggest policy initiatives that will further strengthen and optimise financial and economic policies in order to enhance their welfare impact for the citizens.

The ultimate goal of the EAC is to promote analytically sound and evidence based reforms and initiatives after taking all stakeholders on board. The Ministry of Finance will be the nodal government agency for the EAC.

?The re-constitution of Economic Advisory Council is aimed at framing an agenda for economic reforms in an entirely non-partison manner and promoting an active and informed debate that leads to sound policy making, analytical vetting and active monitoring as envisaged by the leadership for sustained institutional reforms and modernization of the Public Sector and enhance public welfare.

Notification - EAC

 
April 01, 2021 (PR No. 464)

Minister for Finance & Revenue attended a virtual meeting of the MENAP

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Muhammad Hammad Azhar attended a virtual meeting of the Ministers and Governors of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region with the Managing Director of the IMF Ms. Kristalina Georgieva.

The discussion focused on the impact of the pandemic on the economies of the region, lessons learnt through the crisis, and the implications of policy reforms undertaken to mitigate the human and economic impact of the pandemic.

In her opening remarks, the Managing Director IMF outlined the risks posed by the recent wave and said that the economic recovery this time around is usually faster as well as nations have learnt lessons on how to handle emerging circumstances in their own peculiar way. She, however, advised caution as going forward the availability of vaccines and its administration would be instrumental for countries to return to normal economic activity.

She also underscored the importance of having green economies in post-COVID-19 scenario to spearhead economic activities with enhanced energy and resource efficiency and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Towards the end, Ms. Georgieva asked member countries to pursue a coherent strategy, keeping sufficient fiscal space for expansion of social safety nets and business support initiatives. The IMF Board is also deliberating the possibility of extending additional financial support to partner countries during these testing times, she concluded.

 
April 01, 2021 (PR No. 463)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting on CPEC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar chaired a meeting regarding economic and industrial cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Cooperation (CPEC) at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, His Excellency Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China Mr. Nong Rong, Federal Secretary Finance Division and Federal Secretary Privatization Commission participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, Minister for Finance and revenue Hammad Azhar stated that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is of utmost importance for Pakistan. It will enable the country to enhance industrial production, upgrade energy and communication infrastructure and improve connectivity with the region. The CPEC would generate abundant employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan and beyond, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, the H.E. Chinese Ambassador outlined that CPEC is of immense importance for the Chinese companies and will expand and strengthen economic cooperation for achieving common objectives and guarantee a prosperous future for both the nations.

The Finance Minister stressed the need for the early completion of projects falling under the umbrella of CPEC. Time is of essence in meeting project deadlines so that the economic benefits could reach to the people of both the countries and contribute towards overall economic growth and development, he stressed.

The Chairman CPEC Authority assured full support and assistance to the Chinese Ambassador for expediting progress in the communication and transportation sectors on the occasion.

Towards the end, the Finance Minister lauded China for its continuous support in provision of COVID-19 vaccine for fighting the disease effectively. He appreciated the continuous and unwavering support that China has extended to Pakistan during testing times. China-Pakistan bilateral relationship is an epitome of enduring friendship and brotherhood, he concluded.

 
March 26, 2021 (PR No. 462)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held today.

The ECC considered and approved a Technical Supplementary Grant regarding allocation of funds amounting to Rs. 1 (one) billion for launching advertisement campaigns by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB) to inform and educate people particularly during the third wave of COVID-19 for the public good.

 
March 19, 2021 (PR No. 461)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a meeting of the Committee to decide modalities for Metro-bus service

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired a meeting of the Committee to decide about the modalities for operationalising the Metro-bus Corridor from Peshawar Morr (G-9) to New Islamabad International Airport.

Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Chairman CDA Aamir Ali Ahmed, Additional Secretary M/o Interior Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Managing Director Punjab Mass Transit Authority Mirza Naseer Inayat, Member National Highway Authority Arbab Ali, Secretary Finance Kamran Ali Afzal and other senior officers participated in the meeting. The Chief Secretary Punjab joined the meeting through a video link.

The Chairman CDA emphasized upon the need to operationalise the Metro-bus Corridor from Peshawar Morr (G-9) to New Islamabad International Airport immediately for providing a comfortable, safe and secure transportation facility to the commuters in the Capital City. He informed the meeting that the Cabinet had already approved formation of Capital Mass Transit Authority (CMTA) to run the Metro Bus Service from Peshawar Morr (G-9) to the New Islamabad International Airport. However, the CDA required support from the Punjab Mass Transit Authority in the form of buses and technical know-how to make the Corridor operational immediately.

Accordingly, the Chairman CDA requested the Punjab Mass Transit Authority to provide the buses to operationalise the newly constructed Metro-bus Corridor from Peshawar Morr (G-9) to New Islamabad International Airport until the Capital Mass Transit Authority becomes fully functional.

Finance Minister stressed upon the Punjab Government to support the Capital Development Authority operationalise the Metro-bus Corridor from Peshawar Morr (G-9) to New Islamabad International Airport by providing the requisite number of buses and technical know-how until the Capital Development Authority establishes its own fully functional Mass Transit Authority along with all the allied infrastructure and wherewithal. A Sub-Committee headed by Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission was constituted to finalize the arrangements between CDA and the Punjab Government for running buses on the newly constructed Metro-bus Corridor.

 
March 18, 2021 (PR No. 460)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of CCOP

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood and SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar participated in the meeting.

Privatization Division presented a summary regarding approval of a Reserve price for the privatization of the Services International Hotel, Lahore. The Additional Secretary briefed the Committee that all codal formalities were met during the valuation process. After due deliberation, the Committee approved the Reserve price for the sale of Services International Hotel, as recommended by the Privatization Commission.

The Privatization Division presented various proposals regarding Award of Management Contracts for smooth running of DISCOs in compliance with the earlier directive of the CCOP meeting held on 04 January 2021. The Management Contracts would improve the service delivery and thus, serve the larger interest of electricity consumers in Pakistan. The Privatization Division also requested for a permission to hire a Transaction Adviser for completing the aforesaid tasks.

After detailed discussion, the Committee directed to speed up the process of completion of prior actions pertaining to award of Management Contracts for DISCOs and present a roadmap with firmed-up proposals within a week, after seeking requisite approval from the Privatization Commission Board. The Committee also allowed hiring of a Transaction Adviser as permissible under the rules.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister, stressed the need to carry forward the process of Privatization on fast track basis. The time is of essence in undertaking a well-structured privatization activity to bring in competitive efficiency, improve service delivery and enhance customer satisfaction. Privatization will diversify sources of income for the Government, generate employment opportunities and contribute towards overall economic growth and development, he added.

The Privatization Division also submitted a compliance report on the implementation status of Public Sector Enterprises (PSE) in Real Estate, Industries, Banking and Finance, Energy and other sectors which are on active Privatization List.

The Committee reiterated the firm commitment of the Government in spearheading the privatization process with transparency and fairness in consultation with stakeholders.

The Finance Minister urged to observe the timelines and carry forward the whole process expeditiously, he concluded.

 
March 15, 2021 (PR No. 459)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a weekly meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Additional Secretary M/o NFS&R, Member CCP, MD PASSCO, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation and senior officials of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, tomatoes, vegetable ghee, chicken and eggs during the last week. The weekly SPI recorded a decrease of 0.57% wherein prices of 07 basic items registered a decline and 18 commodities remained stable.

The overall release position of wheat was reviewed during the meeting. The Committee directed Secretary NFS&R to hold a meeting with Chief Ministers of all provinces to keep a check on the prices of wheat flour to avoid any artificial price hike. The Finance Minister directed to ensure smooth supply of wheat at affordable prices across the country.

Ministry of Industries and Production updated the Committee that the sugarcane crushing season has ended. The overall production is higher as compared to the last year. The Finance Minister directed Provincial governments and other stakeholders to provide estimates regarding additional demand for sugar to the Ministry of Industries & Production for effective planning during the current year.

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar apprised that the Ministry is already working on various measures for provision of ghee/oil at reasonable price. Moreover, the Utility Stores Corporation would ensure availability of ghee at a subsidized price under “Ramadan Relief Package” through its chain of outlets during the holy month.

The Finance Minister appreciated the provision of basic items by the Utility Stores Corporation at subsidized rates and directed MD USCs to ensure availability of essential items at respective outlets across the country.

The Finance Minister reiterated commitment of the Government to provide maximum relief to the general public through provision of basic commodities at fair prices, he concluded.

 
March 15, 2021 (PR No. 458)

POL Prices

The Government of Pakistan has been absorbing the upward price fluctuation in international market in order to provide maximum relief to the end consumers. Despite very limited fiscal space, the Government has decided that the prices of MS (Petrol) and High Speed Diesel (HSD) will remain the same.

However, as no Petroleum Levy (PL) is being charged on SKO and LDO, the prices of Kerosene (SKO) and Light Diesel Oil (LDO) have been marginally increased by Rs.3.42/liter and Rs.2.19/liter respectively due to significant rise in the international prices of Petroleum Products.

The following new prices would be effective from 16th March 2021 for the 2nd fortnight of the current month: -
Products

Existing Prices w.e.f.
01-03-2021

New Prices
w.e.f.
16-03-2021
Increase/
(-)Decrease
MS (Petrol) 111.90 111.90 +0.00
HSD 116.08 116.08 +0.00
Kerosene (SKO) 80.19 83.61 +3.42
LDO 79.23 81.42 +2.19

 
March 11, 2021 (PR No. 457)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a meeting of ECNEC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, representatives of the Provincial Governments and senior officials participated in the meeting.

A summary was presented before ECNEC regarding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project (Health Component) to be sponsored and executed by the Department of Health, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and funded by the World Bank - IDA amounting to Rs.13,260 million. The project envisages to improve availability, utilization and quality of primary healthcare facilities in four districts of KPK and would cover local population of about 8.4 million and 500,000 refugee population. After due deliberation, the Committee approved the above project with the direction that the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be responsible for the smooth implementation and working of the project after its completion. The KP Government would ensure viability and sustainability of the proposed project in the long-run.

The ECNEC considered and approved a summary regarding construction of additional 02-lanes and widening/rehabilitation of existing 02-lane carriageway of Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of Indus Highway N-55 to be executed by the National Highway Authority (NHA).

The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and ADB with the total cost of Rs.44,703.890 million including Rs.4470.390 (GOP share) and Rs.40,233.50 (ADB share).

Similarly, another summary was placed before the ECNEC regarding construction of 69 km long (04-lane) Sambrial-Kharian Motorway. It will be a high-speed toll road facility which will start from Sambrial city and end point would be Lahore- Sialkot Motorway. The motorway would be constructed on BOT basis at the total cost of Rs.43,382.552 million. The project shall be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and executed by the National Highways Authority (NHA).

A summary was presented before ECNEC regarding 10,000 kanal land acquisition for Swat Motorway phase-II to be sponsored by the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and executed by Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority (PKHA) (through Federal PSDP) equal to RS.20,000 million for construction of about 80 km 04-lane motorway from Chakdara to Fatehpur. The Committee approved the said project and strongly recommended to complete such projects on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The Committee commended such projects for promoting efficient and safe transportation facilities across the country.

ECNEC considered and approved the Sindh Resilience Project (Irrigation Component) for construction of small dams to address drought prone areas of Sindh including system for improving resilience phase-II in districts of Malir (Karachi), Jamshoro, Thatta, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkar, Khairpur, Qambar-Shahdad Kot and Tharparkar in the Province of Sindh. The project shall be sponsored and executed by the Irrigation Department, Government of Sindh. The source of funding includes share of Government of Sindh equal to US$ 11.50 million (7.5%) and Loan from the World Bank equal to US$ 141.51 million (92.5%) with the total cost of the project amounting to US$ 153.01 million (Rs. 24,493.841 million).

Likewise, ECNEC also approved a Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Project (BIWRMDP), sponsored and executed by the Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan. The project will increase the agricultural production, generate employment opportunities and develop agro-based industry through Integrated Water Resource Management across 11 districts in the Balochistan province. The proposed project is funded by the World Bank – IDA (up to 96%) and Government of Balochistan and Farmer’s share (up to 4%) amounting to Rs. 14,747.74 million in total. The project is expected to be completed in 06 years.

ECNEC considered and approved another project in the water sector in Balochistan province titled “Basol Dam Project” on the Basol River. The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of Pakistan and executed by the Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan with a total cost equal to Rs. 18,679.89 million.

ECNEC considered and approved the Nai Gaj Dam Project (2nd revised PC-I) for District Dadu, Sindh Province at the cost of Rs. 46,980.35 million rupees. WAPDA and Irrigation Department, Sindh will be the executing agencies for the proposed project. The main objective of the project is conservation of the available flood flows up to a gross storage capacity of 0.30 MAF and power generation of 4.2 MW. It will also help in irrigation of 56,739 acres along with controlling the soil erosion on the downstream side of the dam.

Establishment of 48 MW Jagran Hydropower Station (Phase-II) at District Neelum, AJK was also approved by ECNEC at (a 2nd revised cost) of Rs.11, 372.135 million. The proiect will be sponsored by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit- Baltistan and executed by Power Development Organization, AJK. The project is being constructed on the intermediate stretch of Jagran River and will generate annual energy of 212.43 GWh.

The “Sindh Resilience Project (PDMA Component)” was approved at the total revised cost of Rs. 15,309.14 million. Provincial Disaster Management Authority- Sindh will be the executing agency for the project. The proposed project will contribute to overall needs for enhancing resilience to natural disasters including public health emergencies in the Sindh Province as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the requirement for integrating health services with disaster management. The project is designed to cover 29 districts of Sindh Province and is expected to be completed by 2024-25.

The ECNEC also considered and approved the “Gwadar – Lasbela Livelihood Support Project, Phase-II” (GLLSP-II) to cover all 45 Union Councils in Gwadar and Lasbella Districts of Balochistan for community development and fisheries value chain development. The total cost of the project will be Rs.12, 328.549 million. The Project will be executed by the Communications & Works Department, Fisheries Department, Planning and Development Department, Government of Balochistan through a dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU). It is expected to be completed in 06 years.

The Locust Emergency and Food security Project (LEAFS) to respond to food security threats caused by locust in different districts across four Provinces was approved by ECNEC at the total cost of approx. Rs. 31,630.60 million (equivalent to USD 200 million) provided by the World Bank. The project will strengthen the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) and also enhance the capacity of Provincial Plant Protection Departments. The project is expected to complete in 03 years.

The Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (Phase-I) was also approved by ECNEC to provide additional 650 MGD water to meet the demand of Karachi City. Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and WAPDA shall be the executing agencies for the project. The total cost of the project will be Rs. 25,551.77 million which will be shared on a 50:50 percent basis by the Federal Government and the Government of Sindh respectively.

 
March 10, 2021 (PR No. 456)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Federal Secretaries from MNS&F, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, National Health Services, Law and Justice Division, Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication, Chairman Board of Investment, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

Ministry of Industries and Production presented a ‘Ramadan Relief Package-2021’ in accordance with the directive of the Prime Minister to provide maximum relief to the marginalized segments of the society during the holy month of Ramadan. The Utility Stores Corporation would subsidize 19 essential items under the proposed relief package entailing subsidy equivalent to approx. Rs. 7.8 billion including wheat flour, sugar and ghee which have significant differential vis-a-vis prevailing prices in the domestic markets. The MD, USC briefed the forum that procurement would start from 01 April, 2021 to ensure availability of basic items at discounted prices across 4000 outlets of USCs throughout the country. The Committee directed MD USC to coordinate with Finance Division for timely release of funds to ensure well-timed procurement and other contingent arrangements.

Ministry of Industries and Production presented another summary seeking permission regarding operation of two plants namely Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer from March till November, 2021 to produce urea from SNGPL based plants. The underlying rationale is to bridge the gap between estimated demand and actual domestic production of urea in the country. The Committee approved operations of the above-mentioned plants with a direction that the Ministry may closely monitor the demand-supply situation and take decision to import urea, if needed, as per requirement during the current year.

Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination tabled a summary for exemption of taxes and duties on import of auto disable syringes and raw material needed for local manufacturing of auto disable syringes in the country. The Secretary Health briefed the forum about efforts underway to switch from conventional syringes to auto disable syringes as reuse of conventional syringes leads to blood borne diseases in Pakistan such as hepatitis, HIV etc. The ECC approved the summary, in principle, and directed the Ministry of Health to hold a follow-up meeting with the Law Division to fine tune details.

The ECC also considered a summary regarding exemption of Federal Excise Duty for 10 soft-skin vehicles imported by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to be used by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) for locust control operations. Ministry of NFS&R requested for a one-time exemption of Federal Excise Duty amounting to Rs.10.3 million for 10 vehicles. After due deliberation, the ECC constituted a Committee with representatives from Law Division, FBR and Ministry of National Food Security and Research for further discussion and submission of updated proposal before the Committee.

The Ministry of Commerce tabled a summary before the ECC seeking permission for import of cotton from Afghanistan and Central Asian States through land route via Torkham border to bridge the gap between supply and demand and to ensure sufficient availability of cotton for promoting textile exports. The ECC had granted such permission earlier to workout necessary arrangements with reference to Plant Quarantine Rules to meet Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for import of cotton via land routes. Ministry of Commerce requested to extend the above permission for import of cotton via land route during the current financial year. The ECC approved the said request subject to fulfilment of codal formalities.

Secretary, Ministry of the Information Technology and Telecommunication presented a summary before the Committee based on recommendations by a Cross-stakeholder Committee for addressing critical issues of Cellular Mobile Industry for digital enablement such as reduction in NADRA Biometric Verification Charges (BVC), License renewal under further Spectrum Price etc. After detailed discussion, the ECC constituted a sub-committee under the Chairmanship of the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain with Secretary IT, Secretary Finance and a representative from PTA as its members to deliberate further and present before the ECC accordingly.

Secretary, Ministry of Communications updated ECC on National Freight and Logistics Policy (NFLP) discussed in earlier meeting held on 20th January, 2021. The Ministry of Communications has segregated the proposals into two broad categories in line with the earlier directive of the Committee. The ECC directed to discuss the proposals involving multiple stakeholders as envisaged under the NFLP, through an Institutional framework, steered by the Deputy Chairman Planning for evolving consensus among all stakeholders including provincial representatives for a way forward.

Petroleum Division updated the ECC about the recommendations firmed up by a sub-committee established in line with the earlier decision of the ECC dated 28 Jan, 2021 regarding review of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Dealers Margins on Petroleum products. After detailed discussion, the ECC approved to revise OMCs and Dealers Margins on the basis of 85% of the latest average core inflation with immediate effect, and directed to expedite a study by PIDE.

The Power Division submitted another summary about re-targeting of Power Sector subsidies (phase-I). The Committee considered and approved the proposals recommending that Power Division will complete the analysis based on the listed principles and submit specific recommendations on thresholds and rates for the consumers before the ECC by 31st March, 2021.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants were also approved by the ECC:

1. Rs. 1056 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for completion of Projects related to COVID-19.

2. Rs. 1.5 billion for the Ministry of Housing and Works for disbursement of interest free loans to the borrowers under Prime Minister’s Low-Cost Housing Scheme.

3. Rs.334.306 million for the Ministry of Interior for the payment of salaries / subsistence allowance to the Civil Armed Forces deployed in the Peacekeeping Missions.

4. Rs.31.50 million for meeting expenses of Federal Insurance Ombudsman Secretariat working under the Ministry of Law and Justice.

5. Rs. 9.685 million for Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Karachi to clear the dues of M/s Coniston against PSM.

6. Rs.67.358 million for the Cabinet Division for meeting various expenses.

7. Rs. 419 million were approved to facilitate Pakistan Central Cotton Committee to carry out its research and development activities.

 
March 08, 2021 (PR No. 455)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired a meeting on Agriculture Transformation Plan

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired a meeting on Agriculture Transformation Plan at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Secretary Law and Justice Division, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, President National Bank of Pakistan, President ZTBL, President Bank of Punjab, senior members from Boards of Revenue of Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan & AJK and senior officials from the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the progress on the directions of the Prime Minister to enhance agriculture credit for the farming sector. The Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan made a presentation on the consultative process followed with key stakeholders and detailed proposals to enhance the agriculture credit. It was recommended to make Loan for Agriculture, Commercial & Industrial Purposes (LACIP) Act 1973 more effective by bringing amendments in areas of foreclosure and simultaneously streamlining procedures for swift processing of agriculture loans. It was also emphasized that judges against vacant positions in Banking Courts need to be appointed on priority.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister urged all concerned to come up with clear action plan along with timelines and responsibility matrix to finalize different proposals presented in the meeting. He constituted a 5-member committee comprising of Secretary Law and Justice Division, Secretary NFS&R, Governor SBP and other senior officials of the relevant institutions and Ministries to complete the task.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government for promoting agriculture sector through effective and speedy implementation of Agriculture Transformation Plan as approved by the Prime Minister, he concluded.

 
March 01, 2021 (PR No. 454)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the 17th meeting of the NEC on AML

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the 17th meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) on Anti-Money Laundering at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Secretary Law Raja Naeem Akbar, Secretary Finance Kamran Ali Afzal, Director General-FMU Lubna Malik, Director General-FATF Khawaja Adnan, Director General-OPS NAB Zahir Shah, Director General (CT) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asim Ali Khan, Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan Jameel Ahmed, Additional Director General FIA Ahsan Saqib, Director General MO Major General Nauman Zakaria and senior officials of the Finance Ministry participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister commended the great efforts made by the National Executive Committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, in achieving major milestones with reference to 27-point FATF Action Plan. The unity of purpose, team work and meticulous coordination among various Ministries and Departments concerned have brought Pakistan closer to achieving the target of completing FATF Action Plan despite enormous challenges, he added.

DG FMU briefed the Committee on overall progress achieved on the FATF Action Plan and outlined efforts underway for the remaining targets to be achieved in due course of time. Pakistan has received international recognition and support for making strides vis-a-vis an exigent Action Plan given by the Financial Action Task Force, she apprised.

While acknowledging the robust progress demonstrated by the relevant Ministries and Departments, the Finance Minister urged to expedite efforts for fulfilling requirements in a few remaining areas. The strict adherence to timelines would culminate into successful completion of the FATF Action Plan, he stressed.

 
February 25, 2021 (PR No. 453)

FATF has appreciated Pakistan for the significant progress made on the entire action plan

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has appreciated Pakistan for the significant progress made on the entire action plan. The Plenary meetings of FATF were held virtually from 22-25 February 2021, where its members discussed a range of topics relating to Pakistan’s progress. Pakistan’s delegation in the FATF Plenary was led by Mr. Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Chairman FATF Coordination Committee / Federal Minister for Industries and Production and attended by senior officers from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NACTA, FMU, National FATF Secretariat and other key stakeholders.

In its plenary meeting held on 25th February, FATF has stated that “To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 24 of the 27 action items.” The FATF has also acknowledged the continued high-level political commitment of Pakistan to combat terrorist financing which, according to FATF statement, has led to significant progress across a comprehensive countering financing of terrorism plan.

Pakistan has undertaken enormous work to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and address the strategic counter-terrorist financing related deficiencies. In addition to the acknowledgement by FATF in its plenary statement that Pakistan has made significant progress on the entire action plan by addressing 24 out of the 27 items in the action plan, Pakistan has also made notable progress in the remaining 3 action items which also stand partially addressed. As of now,all the 10 action items pertaining to the financial sector and border controls have been addressed. In relation to Terrorism Financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions, 6 of the 8 action items have been addressed, whereas for targeted financial sanctions, 8 of the 9 action items also stand addressed. The progress on the remaining 3 action items is well underway with significant progress made so far.

The Ministry of Finance reaffirms its commitment to continue strengthening the AML/CFT regime in line with the global standards.

 
February 22, 2021 (PR No. 452)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries & Production Mr. Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Member CCP, Member PBS, MD PASSCO, MD USC, representatives of the Provincial Governments and senior officials of the Finance Division also participated in the meeting.

NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, chicken and eggs during the last week. The weekly SPI recorded a slight increase of 0.55% whereas prices of 08 basic items registered a decline and 18 commodities remained stable during the week under review.

The Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC about 11 most essential commodities being offered by the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) at subsidized prices across Pakistan. The network of Utility Stores Corporation is playing an important role in providing essential items at discounted prices to the masses as the prices of USC are significantly low as compared to the prices prevailing in domestic markets, he added.

Minister for Industries & Production Mr. Hammad Azhar updated the Committee that the Ministry is closely monitoring the current price trend of vegetable ghee/cooking oil and taking corrective measures to ensure fair price for the consumers.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Industries & Production directed the Provinces to expedite provision of estimates regarding sugar stock needed during the current year. The USC has already made an arrangement for import of 50,000 ton of sugar to ensure its availability at a discounted price, he stated.

Secretary, Ministry of NFS&R apprised NPMC about the sufficient stock of wheat across the country. The NPMC noted price disparity in prices of wheat flour among Provinces and directed the Secretary Food to coordinate with representatives of the Provincial Governments to ensure smooth supply of wheat at fair prices across the board.

The NPMC also directed Member, PBS to give detailed briefing to the Chief Secretaries about the methodology of data collection across different markets in respective Provinces. The underlying rationale is to work out a national average of prices of basic commodities which reflects the situation on ground accurately.

The representatives of the Punjab and Sindh Governments informed the NPMC about the increase in prices of chicken and eggs mainly due to seasonal factors. The NPMC directed the Provincial Governments to take corrective measures and ensure supply of chicken and eggs at affordable prices throughout the country.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government to ensure Provision of essential commodities at affordable prices across the board. He urged the Provincial Governments and Departments concerned to make coordinated efforts to keep prices of basic commodities in check, he concluded.

 
February 18, 2021 (PR No. 451)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the inaugural meeting of 10th NFC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the inaugural meeting of the 10th National Finance Commission (NFC) today at the Finance Division. Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Finance Minister Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Finance Minister KP Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, Finance Minister Balochistan Mr. Zahoor Ahmed Buledi and non ex-officio members including Tariq Bajwa (Punjab), Musharaf Rasul Cyan (KP), Dr. Kasier Bengali (Balochistan), Dr. Asad Sayeed (Sindh) and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance/ Finance Departments of provinces participated in the meeting.

The Finance Minister welcomed all the participants. While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister stated that NFC has been mandated by the Constitution to recommend to the President for amicable distribution of financial resources between the Federation and the Provinces of the net proceeds of the taxes. NFC is a forum to develop harmony between the Federal and the Provinces and to work out a sustainable resource sharing formula with mutual consensus, he added.

Federal Secretary Finance outlined the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the NFC and the main tasks before the NFC which includes developing of a sustainable macroeconomic framework for the 10th NFC Award, vertical revenue sharing, selection of indicators for horizontal distribution formula, simplification of taxes to facilitate businesses and bringing erstwhile FATA at par with the rest of the country.

During the deliberations, members of the Commission highlighted emergent financial issues, including the need to increase the size of the pie for everyone, rising burden of pension payments and need for closer coordination between federal and provincial revenue collecting agencies. The participants discussed the need for harmonization of revenue collection operations at respective levels of the federal and provincial governments to broaden fiscal space and streamline revenue collection.

The meeting formulated seven sub-groups with specific tasks on the basis of TORs of the Commission with the direction to present recommendations before the august forum in due course of time.

The Finance Minister called upon all the members to do their best to come up with focussed and workable recommendations to make the 10th NFC Award successful.

 
February 15, 2021 (PR No. 450)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the weekly meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary M/o National Food Security and Research, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Member PBS, MD PASSCO, MD USC, Chairman TCP and senior officials of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, eggs, chicken, sugar and edible oil during the week. Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about weekly SPI that recorded a slight increase of 0.81%, whereas prices of 06 items decreased and 21 items remained stable during the last week.

Secretary, M/o NFS&R updated NPMC about availability of sufficient stock of wheat across the country. He expressed satisfaction over the average per day releases by the Provinces which was stable throughout the country. Secretary Food, Government of Balochistan apprised the Committee about the arrangements being made for immediate lifting of 20,000 MT wheat from PASSCO.

Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the Committee that approx. 80% crushing of sugarcane has been completed during the current season. The carryover stocks plus the latest crushing would ensure sufficient availability of sugar in the coming months. The Ministry further requested the respective Provincial governments to provide projections regarding the future sugar requirement for effective planning during the year. Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar lauded the Utility Stores Corporations (USCs) for covering more than 5 % of the consumer demand for essential items at subsidized rates across the country.

The NPMC directed PBS to workout ranking of the districts with reference to price control so that Provincial Governments can take necessary actions accordingly.

Finance Minister urged the Provincial Governments and Departments concerned to take all necessary administrative measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of regulated wheat flour throughout the country. He further directed the Provincial and District administrations to proactively monitor the prices of essential commodities to avoid hoarding and black marketing effectively.

 
February 11, 2021 (PR No. 449)

Press Release (Federal Govt Employees)

In accordance with the agreement reached between the Special Committee constituted by the Prime Minister Imran Khan comprising Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan and representatives of the Federal Government Employees, the Finance Division has agreed to the following, in principle: -

  1. Disparity Reduction Allowance @ 25% of the basic pay of BPS-2017 shall be allowed to those civil employees in BPS (1-19) of the Federal Government (including employees of Federal Secretariat and attached departments) who have never been allowed additional salary equal to or more than 100% of the basic pay (whether frozen or not) or performance allowance w.e.f. 01 March, 2021.
  2. The posts BPS (1-16) or equivalent will be upgraded on the pattern of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa w.e.f. 01 March, 2021.
  3. The grant of time-scale will also be considered for adoption on the same pattern in the next budget.
  4. Adhoc Relief will also be considered to be made part of the basic salary w.e.f. July, 2021.
  5. The provinces will be recommended for adoption of above from their own resources.

A summary to the effect is being placed before the Cabinet for requisite approval.

 
February 11, 2021 (PR No. 448)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the 5th meeting of the FBR Policy Board

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the 5th meeting of the FBR Policy Board at FBR HQs today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Mohammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms & Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR, senior members of FBR and representatives of private sector participated in the meeting.

FBR made a presentation regarding establishment of Tax Policy Unit in accordance with the decision of the Cabinet dated 29 November, 2018. Members of the Policy Board gave a valuable input highlighting the advantages of keeping tax policy function independent of administrative function.

After due deliberation, the Chair accorded approval for the establishment of ‘Tax Policy Unit’ under the administrative control of the Finance Division. A new setup would be created that will include members from FBR and also engage fiscal and economic experts from academia, think tanks and private sector to present holistic proposals for mobilising revenue generation with greater autonomy. Tax Policy Unit would work out policy recommendations for domestic tax collection on the lines of the National Tariff Commission which operates under the Ministry of Commerce.

FBR’s Technical Committee apprised the Policy Board about the measures taken to identify anomalies and simplify the taxation system for better understanding of the business community. FBR requested to include senior representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industries & Production for better coordination and effective policy making in this regard.

Chairman, Complaint Oversight Committee (COC) briefed the Policy Board about the working of a newly developed complaint portal which is currently running on trial basis. The complaint resolution system is designed to facilitate businessmen, traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large tax payers. All complaints can be filed at one place. SOPs for complaint resolution and oversight by COC are being finalized and system would be formally launched soon. The Chair directed to disseminate relevant information about the working of complaint registration mechanism and ensure the contact details are readily available for public consumption.

The Finance Minister further directed FBR to expedite the process of Income Tax refunds of less than Rs.50 million to uphold commitment of the government to facilitate tax payers.

 
February 08, 2021 (PR No. 447)

National Price Monitoring Committee meeting

A meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) was held at the Finance Division to review the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, eggs, chicken, sugar and edible oil during the last week.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Industries and Production, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Provincial Administrations, PASSCO, PBS, CCP, FBR and senior officers of the Finance Division.

Secretary, Ministry of Finance briefed NPMC about weekly SPI that increased by 0.5 percent. NPMC noted decline in prices of wheat, sugar, tomatoes, onion, eggs and potatoes during the week. The Chief Secretaries from respective Provincial Governments updated NPMC about availability of sufficient stocks of wheat and average per day release by the Provinces which was stable throughout the country.

The NPMC directed the Provincial and District Administrations to proactively monitor the prices of chicken and edible oil in order to ensure smooth supply at fair prices across the country.

The NPMC directed Secretary Food, Balochistan and MD, PASSCO to make an immediate arrangement for lifting 20,000MT wheat from PASSCO to ensure steady supply of wheat flour in the Province.

The NPMC urged the Provincial Governments and departments concerned for making consolidated and coordinated efforts to avoid hoarding, black marketing and smuggling to ensure uninterrupted supply of basic commodities at affordable prices across the country.

 
February 03, 2021 (PR No. 446)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan participated in the meeting.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Housing and Works, the ECC allowed the Ministry to utilize its own funds equal to Rs. 377.21 million for renewal of lease of Garden West (Pakistan Quarters), Karachi.

Petroleum Division placed a summary before ECC regarding renewal of Gas supply Agreement (GAS) between Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Limited. After detailed discussion, the ECC approved with a condition that renewal would be allowed on “as and when available basis” for a period of 05 years. SSGCL may restore the gas supplies to M/S Fauji Fertilizer till December, 2021 or until a uniform rate for the whole fertilizer sector is formulated after rationalization of tariffs (whichever is earlier).

The ECC considered and approved another summary by the Petroleum Division for re-allocation of gas from Saqib-1A Well located in District Ghotki, Sindh Province to M/S Sui Southern Gas Company Limited from its previous allocation to SNGPL (as approved earlier by the ECC dated 06-10-2009). The price of gas will be as per the applicable Petroleum policy.

Petroleum Division also moved a summary for removal of Dividend Distribution cap on Mari Gas Company Limited (MPCL) under Gas Pricing Agreement as the company is being considered for privatization. After due deliberation, the ECC allowed that the dividend distribution cap may be removed to ensure that the divestment transaction generates optimum sale proceeds for the Government. The Committee further decided that MPCL would ensure dividend distribution in accordance with the Provisions of Companies Act, 2017 and the Companies (Distribution of Dividends) Regulations, 2017.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants (TSGs) were approved by the ECC:

  1. Rs. 141.308 million to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for an expenditure incurred on media campaigns to create awareness among public during COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Rs. 9.025 million to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for a media campaign on occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day – 05 Feb. 2021.
  3. Rs. 5 million for purchase of spare parts for helicopter maintenance by HQs Pakistan Rangers (Punjab).
  4. Rs. 25 million for purchase of spare parts for helicopter maintenance by HQs Frontier Corps Balochistan (South).
  5. Rs. 10 million for repair and maintenance of helicopter by HQs Frontier Corps KP (South), D.I.Khan.
 
February 01, 2021 (PR No. 445)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired a weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Secretary M/o National Food Security and Research, Additional Secretary M/o Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Member PBS, MD USC, MD PASSCO, Member National Accounts PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, eggs, chicken, sugar and edible oil during the last week. Finance Secretary outlined the significant decline in year-on-year CPI to 5.7% in January 2021 as compared to 14.6% in January last year.

The NPMC lauded the efforts of the concerned Ministries / Departments and Provincial governments for vigilant monitoring of the prices of essential commodities and urged to continue the momentum to provide maximum relief to the general public.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government to ensure provision of essential commodities at affordable prices across the board.

The Secretary, M/o NFS&R updated NPMC about the current status of wheat stocks. The wheat stock position is sufficient for the domestic consumption and average per day release by the Provinces is also stable. The NPMC directed the Provincial governments to keep close watch on the prices of wheat and sugar in the market to avoid hoarding, black marketing and smuggling to ensure uninterrupted supply at affordable prices.

The Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production updated NPMC about the fluctuation in international prices of Palm and Soyabean oils which in turn, drives the prices of edible oil in the domestic market. The Ministry is closely monitoring the situation to minimize its impact on domestic prices, he stated.

The Secretary further apprised NPMC that arrangements are underway to import sugar which will ensure its smooth supply in the domestic market. There would be increased production of sugar during the current crushing season as per latest estimates, he added.

The Finance Minister directed M/o Industries and Production to continuously monitor stocks of sugar, its supply position and prices in the market.

 
January 31, 2021 (PR No. 444)

POL Prices

The following will be new prices of petroleum products w.e.f February 1st 2021:-

Ms petrol RS.111.90/liter
HSD. RS.116.07/ liter
LDO Rs.79.23/liter
Kerosene oil Rs.80.19/ liter

Increase in Prices:

Ms petrol Rs.02.70/liter
HSD. Rs.02.88/ liter
LDO Rs.03.00/liter
Kerosene oil Rs.03.54/ liter

Old Prices:

Ms petrol Rs.109.20/liter
HSD. Rs.113.19/ liter
LDO Rs.76.23/liter
Kerosene oil Rs.76.65/ liter

 
January 28, 2021 (PR No. 443)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar , Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar and Governor State Bank Dr. Reza Baqir participated in the meeting.

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 Rs. 2.332 billion for ERP procurement and IT infrastructure for automation of stock management throughout the network of USCs. 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 Ministry of Industries and Production before next ECC meeting. The percentage range(s) would serve as a benchmark for subsidizing 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.

Petroleum Division presented a summary before ECC to review the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Dealers Margins 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 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 Cool Power Project at Gawadar.

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 for performing religious obligations in an organized manner. The ECC approved the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Office at Quetta and Taftan at an estimated expenditure of Rs. 38.50 million. Moreover, ECC also considered the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Offices at Mashhad (Iran), Karbala and Baghdad (Iraq) and directed 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 consultative process.

ECC also approved a Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 42 million in favour of National Program for Enhancing Command Areas in BARANI Areas (ICT Component) surrendered by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research.

 
January 27, 2021 (PR No. 442)

British High Commissioner called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

British High Commissioner His Excellency Christian Turner called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, at the Finance Division today. H. E. High Commissioner was accompanied by the Head of Development Ms. Annabel Gerry on the occasion.
 
The Minister extended a warm welcome to the High Commissioner and commended the support extended by the Government and people of the United Kingdom to the Government of Pakistan and its people and hoped that economic relations would further strengthen between the two countries.
 
Minister for Finance briefed the High Commissioner that Government of Pakistan is pursuing a broad-based economic reform agenda to achieve export-led growth and would like to further deepen trade and economic linkages between the two countries.
 
Minister for Finance further apprised about the socio-economic measures taken by the Government of Pakistan to lessen the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marginalized segments of the society and thanked the High Commissioner for the assistance and support extended to Pakistan in fighting the disease.
 
The Minister expressed condolences to the High Commissioner over loss of precious lives due to COVID-19 pandemic and wished speedy recovery and normalcy with reference to latest surge in coronavirus infections by the new variant in the UK.
 
Opportunities for green financing were also discussed during the meeting to promote collective efforts against the challenges posed by the climate change. The High Commissioner offered all possible help in strengthening efforts of the Government of Pakistan for development of green industry to alleviate negative environmental impact.

 
January 25, 2021 (PR No. 441)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today.

Federal Minister for Industries & Production Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Commerce, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Secretary National Food Security & Research, Additional Secretary M/o Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Chairman TCP, MD USC, Member PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar and edible oil during the week. Finance Secretary briefed the meeting about the weekly SPI and decline in prices of wheat flour, vegetables and eggs due to coordinated efforts of all the Provincial government across the country. On the whole, prices of 08 items registered decline whereas 24 items remained stable during the week.

The Secretary, M/o NFS&R briefed NPMC that the current stock of wheat is sufficient for the domestic consumption and average per day release by the provinces is also satisfactory. The prices of wheat flour registered a continuous decline due to improved release of wheat (per day) and its steady supply across the country, he outlined.

The Finance Minister lauded the coordinated and consolidated efforts of the Federal and Provincial governments for uninterrupted provision of wheat throughout the country.

Federal Minister for Industries & Production, Hammad Azhar updated NPMC about the significant decline in the international prices of Palm oil and Soyabean which will eventually reduce the recent upward pressure on the prices of edible oil in the domestic market. The Committee directed Ministry of Industries & Production to take necessary measures to ensure that the recent reduction in international prices of edible oil is passed on to the domestic consumers effectively.

Minister for Industries & Production further apprised NPMC that retail price of sugar has witnessed a decline during the week under review and would reduce further as imported sugar would be available soon in the domestic market. The NPMC appreciated efforts of all relevant authorities to ensure sufficient stock of sugar in coming months.

Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics informed the Committee that Provinces are on board for smooth implementation of newly developed dashboard of prices of essential items. Steps are being taken to make the system fully functional for monitoring price disparity across the Provinces, he added.

The Finance Minister emphasized proactive role on behalf of all authorities concerned to ensure smooth provision of essential items at affordable rates to general public.

 
January 21, 2021 (PR No. 440)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of ECNEC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at Cabinet Division today. Federal Minister for Planning, Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain and Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar participated in the meeting.

ECNEC considered and approved a summary regarding construction of Gwadar-Ratodero Road Project (M-8) sponsored by the Ministry of Communication and executed by NHA at a rationalized cost of Rs. 38,026.28 million. The ECNEC approved the project in view of its strategic importance as it will facilitate connectivity for CPEC projects through improved road linkages.

A summary was presented before ECNEC regarding provision of Advanced Skills Development through International Scholarship Phase-1 for Master and PHD programs to be executed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The project is part of a Prime Minister Knowledge Economy Task Force Initiative which will enable our youth to access higher education opportunities in well-reputed international universities. ECNEC approved the project at a rationalized cost of Rs. 13.361 billion.

A summary regarding Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (phase-1) was presented before ECNEC. The project would provide additional 260 MGD water to Karachi at the total cost of Rs. 25,551.77 million. The expected period of completion is 04 years. ECNEC approved the project for provision of environment friendly water sanitation and waste management infrastructure / facilities to residents of Karachi.

Similarly, a project titled ‘Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP)’ was presented before the Committee sponsored by the Local government, Housing and Town Planning Department, Government of Sindh with total cost of Rs. 16,800 million including IBRD-World Bank loan of Rs. 16,000 million. The project is designed to mitigate the risk of widespread flooding caused by inadequate solid and liquid waste management during monsoon season and to improve the Solid Waste Management (SWM) infrastructure and service delivery with a view to transform Karachi into an eco-friendly city in the long run.

ECNEC considered and approved the “Khyber Pakhtunkwa Human Capital Investment Project” (KPHCIP) (Education Component) at the total cost of Rs.18910.255 million ($115 million). The Project has been financed by the World Bank/IDA. The Project is envisioned to upgrade basic education infrastructure in the districts of Peshawar, Haripur, Noshera and Swabi of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The project for the “Construction of 100 Dams in Balochistan- Package IV (23 Dams)” was approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs.13,512.725 million. Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan will execute the project and it will complete in 03 years. Realizing the water scarcity in the Province of Balochistan, the project is designed to harness flood flows for direct irrigation, ground water recharge and agricultural development through construction of small dams throughout the Province.

Phase-II of the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) Project for Establishment of Cross-Border OFC Network (Khunjerab-Karachi) Along China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Routes” was approved at the total cost of Rs.37,915.899 million. The project will provide alternate path for international connectivity through Northern Border of Pakistan with China and would transform Pakistan as a Digital Gateway of regional connectivity.

COVID-19 response and other Natural Calamities Control Program was approved by the ECNEC at the cost of Rs. 70 billion as federal share. The project includes National Health upgradation program, National program for Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), COVID-19 interventions for less developed areas etc.

ECNEC also approved the Project for “Dualization and Improvement of Old Bannu Road” at the total cost of Rs. 17,230 million from federal PSDP (2020-21). The project envisages dualization of existing 02-lane old Bannu road measuring 83 km in length from Gaandi Chowk to Sarai Naurang (8km) and Domail to Krapa on N-55 (75km) to 4 lanes with 7.3 m wide carriageway on either side. Scope of work also includes extension of existing culverts & bridges, construction of retaining walls along with drainage / erosion works and allied facilities. NHA shall execute the project.

 
January 20, 2021 (PR No. 439)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister for Privatization Mohammad Mian Soomro, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Petroleum Omer Ayub, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Energy Nadeem Babar, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain and Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir also participated through video link.

Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary before ECC for import of sugar to reduce upward pressure on prices of sugar and to buffer up carry over stocks before the arrival of the fresh crop. The ECC approved reduction of Withholding Income Tax on commercial import of white sugar and raw sugar form 5.5% to 0.25% and removal of Value Added Sales Tax on import of white sugar. The reduction in taxes will incentivize the sugar mills for import of 300,000 MT Raw Sugar upto 30th June 2021. ECC further directed Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import white sugar upto 500,000 MT if and when needed during the current season.

Ministry of Religions Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented a summary for scaling up of ‘Road to Makkah Pilot Project’ from Islamabad airport to two more cities i.e. Karachi and Lahore to facilitate Hujjaj for performing Hajj under Government Scheme. One of the pre-conditions for scaling up of Road to Makkah Project was grant of special exemption on the import of technical equipments in Pakistan by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). ECC decided that FBR will hold a separate consultation with the Ministry of Religions Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to workout details and matter would be placed before next ECC for approval.

Aviation Division presented a summary before ECC to reconstitute a high powered committee headed by the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission including Secretary Finance, Secretary Aviation and Secretary Law & justice Division to deliberate on financial challenges faced by the Roosevelt Hotel, New York, USA. The Committee approved the above request.

Secretary, M/o Communication presented a detailed National Freight and Logistics Policy (NFLP) framework before ECC. Honourable members of the ECC appreciated the efforts made by the Ministry in drawing up a comprehensive draft policy and directed M/o Communications to identify and segregate actionable items which fall under its domain and place before next ECC for final approval. The proposals pertaining to other Ministries and Provinces would be considered separately under some institutional arrangement at an appropriate forum.

ECC also approved a draft policy on equity investment abroad by residents / firms, which caters to the needs of the business community and aims to improve the ease of doing business, promote exports, facilitate resident companies in raising capital from abroad. It will also fulfil legitimate investment needs of the individuals.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented a summary to authorize TCP to make immediate arrangements for import of 300,000 MT of wheat through tendering process as ratified by the Cabinet and nominate PASSCO as a recipient agency for the imported wheat to replenish its stock as needed. ECC accorded approval as requested by the Ministry. ECC also approved another summary by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding allocation of 60,000 MT of wheat for Food Department, Balochistan from PASSCO’s existing stock on the subsidized rate as per previous practice.

ECC also decided that gas rate of PKR 772/MMBTU will be applicable to Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer post November 2020 till January 2021 as requested by the Ministry of Industries and Production.

ECC accorded approval for the exemption of Sales Tax @17% and additional sales tax @3% on the import of 52 fire fighting vehicles by Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited (SIDCL).

Ministry of Communications updated ECC regarding progress made in conversion of National Highway Authority (NHA) loans into Government loans as per last ECC held on 02 December 2020. NHA requested for a time period of 09 months to prepare a commercially viable business plan in consultation with other Ministries. NHA’s debt restructuring would be linked with the outcome of the said business plan. ECC also accorded approval of the proposal that outstanding mark-up accrued till date on all CDL/FRL on NHA would be capitalized as on 30 June 2020. There will be a moratorium on further accrual of mark-up till the finalization of the business plan.

The following technical supplementary grants were approved by the ECC:

a) Rs.10 million for the purchase of Spare Parts for the helicopter maintenance by HQ Frontier CORPS Balochistan.

b) Rs.67,459,100 to Ministry of Interior for the payment to hired solicitors for pursuing cases in the UK.

c) Rs.81.40 million to Ministry of Law and Justice for the establishment of 3 new Courts.

d) Rs.16.628 billion to the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives for the completion of 21 schemes of Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited.

e) Rs.82.5 million for the completion of the Project titled “1000 Industrial Stitching Units all over Pakistan” by Ministry of Industries and Production.

f) Rs.300 million for the completion of the Project titled “KA7151 Establishment of 132 KV Grid Station at Bin Qasim Industrial Park” by Ministry of Industries and Production.

A draft Textiles and Apparel Policy, 2020-25 by the Ministry of Commerce was postponed to the next ECC for a detailed discussion.

 
January 20, 2021 (PR No. 438)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of CCoSOEs

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on State Owned Enterprises (CCoSOEs) here today.

Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain along with the senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Privatization participated in the meeting.

The Committee decided to delist the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTVC) from the list of State Owned Enterprises categorized for privatization. The decision was taken on the request of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Secretary Information briefed the forum that PTVC is undergoing massive restructuring to make it a financially viable, professionally efficient and technically sound State Owned Enterprise (SOE) to amplify national narrative and formulate favourable public opinion.

Ministry of Finance presented a report on Triage of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) before CCoSOEs. The Committee, after detailed discussion directed to streamline the existing categories for the Privatization of SOEs and present a roadmap before the Committee. The Committee further directed the concerned Ministers to utilize the interim period effectively and workout options for restructuring including possibility of management contracts, where applicable, and update CCoSOEs periodically.

The Committee decided that the forensic audit of major loss making State Owned Enterprises shall be conducted in accordance with the directives of the Prime Minister. Secretary Finance briefed the committee that Auditor General’s Office is on board and has started collecting data whereas several private sector firms have also shown interest in this regard. The Committee decided that, keeping in view, the large number of entities, the forensic audit task may be distributed among the private firm(s) and the Auditor General of Pakistan as per rules.

Secretary Finance updated the Committee on the progress made on Draft SOE Bill 2020. After following due consultative process on the Draft SOE Bill 2020, the Finance Division has submitted the same to the Law and Justice Division. Once draft Bill is cleared, it would be presented before the Cabinet for approval, before bringing it in the Parliament.

 
January 18, 2021 (PR No. 437)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today.

Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Additional Secretary M/o NFS&R, Additional Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Chairman TCP, MD USC, Member IT/HRM & Member National Accounts from PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar and edible oil during the week. Finance Secretary briefed the meeting that weekly SPI registered a decline of 0.22% and the main drivers behind decrease in SPI are falling prices of eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and chicken. Prices of 21 basic items remained stable whereas 07 items registered a decline during the week.

M/o NFS&R apprised NPMC that all stakeholders are on board with reference to existing position of wheat stock in the country. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research assured all possible measures would be taken to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.

The Finance Minister directed the Provincial governments to follow a self-sustaining model and streamline daily release of wheat to ensure steady supply in the provinces as well as districts.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar updated NPMC about the recent decline in international prices of palm oil which will eventually reduce the upward pressure on the prices of edible oil in the domestic market.

The Finance Minister directed Ministry of Industries and Production to continuously monitor stocks of sugar, its supply position in the market and prices throughout the country for the consumers.

Member PBS updated NPMC about the benefits of recently developed dashboard of prices of essential items and progress on its implementation in coordination with the provinces. NPMC directed PBS to provide necessary support to the provinces to make the system fully functional for vigilant monitoring of prices of essential commodities and to remove price disparity across the country.

The Finance Minister directed M/o NFS&R to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour at reasonable rates for the general public. He also urged the Provincial governments to continue taking necessary steps to ensure provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.

 
January 15, 2021 (PR No. 436)

POL Prices

The new prices of the petroleum products with effect from 16th January, 2021, are as under:

(Rs/Liter)

Products

Existing Prices w.e.f.
01-01-2021

New Prices
w.e.f.
16-01-2021
Increase/
(-)Decrease
MS (Petrol) 106.00 109.20 +3.20
HSD 110.24 113.19 +2.95
Kerosene (SKO) 73.65 76.65 +3.00
LDO 71.81 76.23 +4.42

Above new prices of petroleum products are effective till 31st Jan, 2021.
 
January 14, 2021 (PR No. 435)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of Advisory Committee

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Advisory Committee for the release of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) spectrum in Pakistan held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman PTA Major General (R) Aamir Azeem Bajwa, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Executive Director Frequency Allocation Board and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

The Chairman PTA briefed the Advisory Committee about the latest developments in the sale of available spectrum of next generation mobile services in the country.

While appreciating the sale of maximum possible spectrum, the Finance Minister stated that it will contribute towards overall economic growth through digitalization and improve the quality of broadband services in Pakistan, he added.

The Committee was also briefed that the hiring process for the consultants was completed in December 2020 as per procedure and newly hired consultants are on board for the sale of available spectrum within the current financial year.

The Finance Minister urged the consultants to follow a proactive approach and meet the given deadlines effectively. He emphasized that the time is of essence in the release of NGMS Spectrum and the whole process of auction must be transparent for strengthening and expanding communications / IT Services across the country.

The next follow-up meeting of the Advisory Committee is expected to take place in March, 2021.

 
January 11, 2021 (PR No. 434)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today.

Minister for Industries & Production, Minister for National Food Security & Research, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Industries & Production, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Chairman TCP, MD PASSCO, MD USC, Member IT & Member National Accounts from PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar, eggs and edible oil. Secretary Finance briefed NPMC that prices of wheat and eggs have registered downward trend due to coordinated and consolidated efforts of the Provincial governments. The Finance Minister directed the Provincial governments and relevant departments to continue momentum of strict price monitoring for provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.

Federal Minister for NFS&R briefed NPMC about the current status of wheat stock across the country and assured that all possible measures will be taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat at affordable prices.

Minister for Industries & Production apprised NPMC that production of sugar is likely to increase this year due to improved sugarcane crushing activity and would eventually release pressure on upward price trend. Minister for Industries & Production Hammad Azhar also briefed NPMC about the steps being taken to control the prices of edible oil/ghee.

The representative from the Punjab government briefed that a strict action has been taken against the role of middlemen in sugarcane market as directed by NPMC. He informed that prices of sugar are currently stable in the Province, however, in some areas marginal hike is observed due to fog and weather conditions. Minister for Industries & Production appreciated the efforts of the Punjab Government in minimizing the role of middlemen.

Member PBS presented before NPMC a live dashboard of prices of essential items for comparative analysis which will be helpful in monitoring prices of essential items across major cities and markets in real time. The system is prepared by PBS to monitor food prices and figure out price fluctuations for timely decision making and smooth coordination among Provincial governments and departments concerned. The Finance Minister lauded the mechanism for effective price monitoring and sound decision making. NPMC directed PBS to hold a meeting with Provincial governments to remove price disparity in essential items and urged the Provinces to draw maximum benefit from the newly developed system.

 
January 06, 2021 (PR No. 433)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Minister for Privatization Mohammad Mian Soomro, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir also participated through video link.

Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding removal of additional 2% customs duties on 152 tariff lines, mostly raw material, on horizontal basis under National Tariff Policy 2019-24. The ECC approved the summary with a direction that budget cycle must be observed while planning important incentives for businesses & industries for smooth planning and subsequent implementation during the financial year.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs tabled a summary for awarding contract regarding infrastructure facilities, sewerage system and water supply system in Gulshan-e-Benazir Township Scheme (GBTS) at Port Qasim Authority, Karachi. The ECC approved the projects in conformity with the PQA Act-1973, in principle, and directed Ministry of Maritime Affairs to settle the modalities for the award of contracts as per rules.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented a detailed summary regarding provision of additional quantities of wheat to KPK, AJ&K and Utility Stores Corporations (USC). The Additional Secretary, M/o NFS&R gave a detailed presentation regarding availability of wheat stocks across the country. The ECC approved additional wheat allocation of 200,000 MT for KPK 80,000 MT to AJ&K and 220,000 MT to USC from PASSCO as requested. ECC also approved the import of additional wheat to buffer up stocks till the arrival of fresh crop after seeking detailed input from all concerned.

The summaries related to the Textile and Apparel Policy (2020-25) and National Freight and Logistics Policy (NFLP) were deferred to next ECC for comprehensive consultation process with key stakeholders.

ECC approved the following Technical Supplementary Grants during the meeting:

a) Rs. 30 million for the Ministry of Defence for the purchase of spare parts for Helicopters for the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

b) Rs. 400.020 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice to establish additional courts in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court.

c) Rs. 2.268 billion for the Higher Education Commission for completion of various Disbursement linked Indicators (DLIs) under the IDA credit facility.

 
January 04, 2021 (PR No. 432)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) today.

Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman Board of Investment Atif Bokhari, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

Privatization Division presented a summary regarding privatization status of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) before CCoP. Different scenarios were presented before the CCoP for changing the capital structure i.e debt-equity ratio of NPPMCL.

After detailed discussion, the Chair directed the Privatization Commission to accelerate the privatization/ management contracts of all entities and implementation plan may be presented before the CCoP within a week to proceed further. The Chair also directed the sub-committee constituted for the NPPMCL to finalize its recommendations and place before the CCoP accordingly.

The Finance Division tabled a summary regarding shareholding structure of Pakistan Credit Guarantee Company (PCGC). The ECC had already endorsed the proposal dated 24th December 2020 regarding change in the shareholding structure of the PCGC. The subject matter was placed before CCoP for further deliberation prior to ratification by the Cabinet.

After due deliberation, the Chair directed the Law Division to provide its input in consultation with Finance, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and State Bank of Pakistan for consideration in the next meeting.

 
January 04, 2021 (PR No. 431)

Minister for Finance & Revenue chaired the meeting of the NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today. Minister for Industries & Production, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles & Investment, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Special Secretary Commerce, Chairman FBR, Additional Secretary Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Member CCP, Chairman TCP, MD PASSCO, MD Utility Store Corporation, Member National Accounts and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar and edible oil. Finance Secretary briefed about the decline in Consumer Price Index recorded at 8% in December 2020 as compared to 12.6% in December 2019 as a positive outcome of vigilant monitoring under NPMC on regular basis. The NPMC noted significant decline in food inflation as urban food inflation declined by 2.1% and rural declined by 3.4% on Month-on-Month basis. NPMC was also informed that there is a decline in weekly Sensitive Price Index by 0.7%. Prices of 10 essential food commodities were reduced notably tomatoes, onions, potatoes and chicken.

The Chair noted that the prices of essential items have started showing declining trend which is a positive outcome of vigilant monitoring under NPMC on weekly basis. He emphasized an increased coordination among Federal and Provincial authorities to identify demand supply gaps and take immediate remedial measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of items of daily use at affordable prices.

The NPMC observed price variation in wheat flour in Sindh and Balochistan Provinces which was reflected in PBS data. The Finance Minister directed the Chief Secretaries to regulate smooth supply of wheat throughout the province by increasing daily release, if needed, and submit a comprehensive report in the next NPMC accordingly. The Chair urged the Provincial Secretaries to check the possibilities of hoarding and black marketing especially wheat and sugar to ensure uninterrupted provision at fair prices.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Hammad Azhar, updated the NPMC about measures being taken to further reduce the prices of sugar and edible oil in consultation with stakeholders. The Chair directed to constitute a Committee, headed by the Minister for Industries and Production, with Secretary MNFS&R and stakeholders concerned as its members to come up with a concerted course of action in this regard. The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood also appreciated the measures being taken to further reduce the prices of sugar and edible oil.

The Chair stressed the need for effective functioning of all federal and provincial authorities to monitor the demand supply position across the country for provision of daily use items to general public at affordable rates.

 
January 01, 2021 (PR No. 430)

Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission Ms. Nargis Sethi called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, today. Ms. Sethi briefed the Finance Minister about the working of Pay and Pension Commission to resolve the issue of burgeoning expenditure as pensions on the government exchequer as well as anomalies in pay and pension structure.

The Finance Minister emphasized the importance of reviewing the existing pay and pension mechanism, allowances, perks and possibilities of monetization in order to have a financially viable solution for Government employees.

During the meeting, the Chairperson apprised the Finance Minister about the working of the sub-committees and reiterated her commitment for streamlining the prevailing system of pay and pension based on principles of fairness and transparency.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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