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September 16, 2021 (PR No. 608)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a virtual meeting with Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic...

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a virtual meeting with Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) at the Finance Division today.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister briefed the Executive Secretary, UNESCAP about the macro-economic challenges faced by Pakistan and underlined economic and fiscal policies being undertaken to place the economy on growth trajectory. He apprised that Government of Pakistan had to opt for IMF program to fix balance of payments crisis due to precarious economic situation in FY-2018. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic shock resulted in considerable economic contraction leading to loss of livelihoods, disruption in supply lines and limited economic activity during partial lockdowns. At present, Pakistan is faced with a difficult choice to strike a balance between need for fiscal consolidation and ever rising demand for economic stimulus to stimulate economic growth amid COVID-19 and in post COVID scenario. Nevertheless, the Government introduced smart and targeted lockdowns across various cities/districts to curtail spread of virus. This strategy was lauded globally for striking a balance between lives and livelihoods, during testing times, he added.

The Finance Minister underlined that due to prudent fiscal policies and strict financial discipline, Pakistan’s economy is shifting from consolidation to growth phase. The Government’s objective is to steer economy towards an inclusive and sustainable economic growth with key focus on bottom-up approach as envisaged by the Prime Minister. A Kamyab Pakistan Program is being introduced to uplift underprivileged population by extending micro-credit to promote financial empowerment.

Moreover, the Finance Minister stated that the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan has posed new economic challenges for Pakistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is important for the whole region, he stressed.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary extended an invite to the Finance Minister for delivering keynote address at the upcoming meeting of UNESCAP’s Committee on Macroeconomic Policy. The 3-day Committee meeting will deliberate upon the macroeconomic policies of member countries as well as issues relating to financing for development. She emphasized the significance of supporting countries which are facing financing and development constraints due to on-going pandemic. She stressed upon the need for evolving a mechanism to provide maximum relief to the developing countries which are facing socio-economic challenges. She stated that this Committee meeting will propose establishment of consultative group on financing for development for SDGs. Finance Minister accepted the invitation to deliver keynote address in virtual mode. 

 
September 16, 2021 (PR No. 606)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting on National Tax Council (NTC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the National Tax Council (NTC) at the Finance Division today. Provincial Finance Ministers, Secretary Finance Division, Chairman FBR, Chairman Sindh Revenue Board, and other senior officers also participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister welcomed the participants and emphasized the need for evolving consensus between the Federation and Provinces in matters relating to Sales tax harmonization. He stressed upon the need to resolve tax-related issues in a spirit of cooperation between the Federation and the Federating units.

The Chairman FBR made a detailed presentation and outlined areas for further deliberation to work out an arrangement in a collaborative manner relating to harmonization of GST amongst Federal Government and the Provinces. FBR and the Provincial Finance Ministers narrated their respective positions on the taxation of transportation, restaurants, toll manufacturing and construction.

Different proposals were also considered by the NTC for implementing single portal for filing Sales Tax returns which is being developed and is likely to be launched by the first week of October, 2021. The launching of single portal for filing returns will cut the compliance cost for the taxpayers and will help increase Pakistan’s rating on Ease-of-Doing Index. It was decided that detailed input will be invited from Provincial Revenue Authorities (PRAs) for development of single Sales tax portal acceptable to all. Similarly, FBR shall also develop a standardized Income tax Return format, in consultation with the Provincial governments.

After due deliberation with all relevant stakeholders, the National Tax Council decided that the sales tax on toll manufacturing will rest with the Federation, while taxation rights on transportation business would be vested in the Provinces. Regarding taxation on construction business, it was decided that the taxation right would be shared as per the constitutional arrangements, and a technical committee consisting of all revenue authorities would decide the operational modalities. On taxation of restaurants, Finance Minister in his capacity as head of National Tax Council (NTC) and after having views of FBR and Provinces, decided that the Provinces will continue to tax restaurants. However, a reference drafted in consultation with Provinces will be sent to Law Division for opinion on the decision.

All stakeholders agreed to proceed ahead in the spirit of greater national interest and harmony under the umbrella of National Tax Council (NTC).

 
September 15, 2021 (PR No. 605-A)

POL Prices

Owning to the fluctuations in Petroleum prices in the international market and exchange rate variation, the prices of petroleum products will be as follows w.e.f. September 16, 2021

Product

Existing pricesw.e.f.
01-09-2021

News pricesw.e.f
16-09-2021

Increase/
(-) Decrease

MS (Petrol)

118.30 123.30 +5.00

High Speed Diesel (HSD)

115.03 120.04 +5.01

Kerosene (SKO)

86.80 92.26 +5.46

Light Diesel Oil

84.77 90.69 +5.92
 
September 15, 2021 (PR No. 605)

German business delegation called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

A German business delegation called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. The delegation comprised of the representatives of leading German enterprises. The Ambassador of Germany to Pakistan H.E. Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck accompanied the delegation. Secretary BOI and representatives of OICCI also participated in the meeting. The visit comes on the occasion of 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

While extending a warm welcome to the delegation, the Finance Minister stressed upon the German investors and businessmen to further strengthen business and economic linkages between the two countries. He highlighted the salient features of Pakistan’s investment policy. The policy envisages attracting further foreign direct investment and providing full support and facilitation to the foreign investors.

The Finance Minister apprised that Pakistan’s economy is coming out of consolidation phase and is presently in a state of growth.  The objective is to steer economy towards an inclusive and sustainable economic growth with key focus on bottom-up approach as envisaged by the Prime Minister. At present, the Government is proactively executing all policy measures to achieve the major socio-economic targets of the current financial year.

Furthermore, the Government is all set to launch “Agricultural Transformation Plan” to boost agricultural productivity. Micro credit will be extended to the farmers at grass root level to procure agricultural inputs and farm machinery. Similarly, loans will be disbursed to pave way for enabling infrastructure like construction of agri malls, storage facilities and commodity warehouses in order to ensure due share to farmers and to stabilize prices of the items of daily use.

The Minister also underlined the pace of development in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which will provide lucrative incentives and attract FDI. He encouraged German investors to invest in SEZs to enhance the volume of trade and investment between the two countries. He invited German companies to use abundant and talented human resource available in the country to make Pakistan their exporting base.

The Finance Minister also welcomed the development that Lufthansa is planning to resume its flight operations in Pakistan.

The German delegation appreciated the warm hospitability extended by the Finance Minister and stated that there is a vast scope for enhancing bilateral trade, investment and business ties. The German delegates also discussed the possibilities of increased business collaboration in the fields of agriculture, renewable energy, e-commerce and IT.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that investor facilitation is being paid special attention and incumbent Government is firmly committed to provide conducive environment for encouraging foreign investment from all over the world. He affirmed full support and facilitation for German enterprises on the occasion.

 
September 15, 2021 (PR No. 604)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Among others, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Petroleum, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Chairman FBR, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory, Member PBS and other senior officers participated in the meeting. SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Cheema joined through a videolink.

The Secretary Finance briefed the participants that upsurge in international food prices is affecting the domestic prices as Pakistan is a net importer of staple food items namely wheat, sugar, ghee etc. The international price hike is due to fall in global food production and high consumption demand coupled with supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

While reviewing the prevailing ghee prices, the Finance Minister directed Chairman FBR to work out a strategy to ensure measurable impact on prices of ghee/edible oil in domestic markets. The volatile prices of edible oil in international market have pushed up the local prices of ghee/vegetable in the country. There is a need to have a sliding scale to link up prices of ghee in local markets with international markets, he added.

While taking stock of the weekly calculation of SPI, the Finance Minister urged Member PBS to review its methodology and extend coverage by including foot print of Saasta/Itwar Bazaars in mainstream cities where upward pressure on prices of food items is absorbed through provision of food items at subsidized rates. At present, the significant price differential between wholesale and retail prices in Saasta Sahulat Bazaars is not covered by PBS.

The NPMC directed the Provincial Chief Secretaries to resume daily release of wheat at the price determined by the Federal Government to ensure smooth supply of wheat at affordable prices across the country. The Release price for wheat is Rs.1950 per 40kg.

Secretary M/o Industries and Production briefed the Committee about the arrangements being made to import sugar with respective timelines. The NPMC directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab to make requisite arrangements to lift the imported sugar stock at the earliest and ensure smooth supply of sugar to other Provinces and chain of USCs as per demand. The Committee directed the Provincial governments to ensure sale of sugar in the market at the price fixed by the Government.

The SAPM on Food Security apprised the NPMC that a detailed strategy will be presented before NPMC to build strategic reserves of pulses as well as perishable commodities  in order to stabilize prices of the items of daily use. The detailed strategy will also include provision of enabling infrastructure including agri malls, storage facilities and commodity warehouses. He also mentioned the plan to purchase pulses from farmers through PASSCO and Food Department to supply pulses at lower prices through USCs to the consumers and also specified Bazaars. Moreover, the SAPM underlined to grow sugar beet as an additional crop to ensure steady supply of sugar at a fair price throughout the year.

 
September 15, 2021 (PR No. 603)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held at the Finance Division today.

Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary requesting for provision of RLNG to SNGPL based plants (Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer) during Rabi season 2021-22. The ECC approved provision of 70 MMG RLNG with the direction to hold a consultative session with the representatives of fertilizer manufactures to workout overall demand for urea in the country. The ECC further directed to consider the possibility to import urea (if needed) to maintain buffer stocks.

The ECC considered and approved a summary tabled by the Aviation Division for GOP cash support as required by PIAC. The airline has experienced significant dip in revenues and cash flows due to pandemic and unprecedented travel bans/lockdowns imposed by various countries. Moreover, the ECC also approved the enhancement of existing approved guarantee enabling PIAC to overcome its financial challenges.

Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding revocation of the conditions of Minimum Export Price (MEP) on export of surgical instruments with the exception of “single-use” surgical instruments. After due deliberation, the ECC approved that the necessary amendments be made in Export Policy Order, 2020 to revoke the condition of MEP in order to make our exports competitive in the global market.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary before the forum for provision of wheat to AJ&K, out of PASSCO stock, for the financial year 2021-22. The ECC approved the provision of 300,000 MT of wheat (in total) to AJ&K at the ratio of 80/20 as mixture of local/imported stock.

Federal Finance Minister, as a Chairman of ECC, stated that the Government is firmly committed to stabilize prices of wheat and ensure its smooth supply at affordable prices across the country.

The ECC also approved Rs. 3860 million in favour of Revenue Division (FBR) as a bridge financing facility to upgrade IT infrastructure in view of increased frequency and severity of cyber attacks to ensure elimination of risk to tax payers data.

Among others, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research (NFS&R) Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, MOS on Information Farrukh Habib, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Federal Secretaries, Chairman FBR, Deputy Chairman Planning and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir also participated through a video link.

 
September 14, 2021 (PR No. 602)

Managing Director, National Investment Trust Limited called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

Mr. Adnan Afridi, Managing Director, National Investment Trust Limited, called on the Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Tarin. Mr. Afridi commended the ongoing developments in the macro policy framework as it helped stimulate significant growth in the asset management Industry whereby the total AUMs crossed Rs. 1 trillion mark in the outgoing fiscal year, posting a growth of nearly 65% YoY. Mr. Afridi also apprised the Finance Minister on the ongoing efforts of NITL in developing Pakistan’s ‘First Social Impact Fund (SIF)’ that is primarily dedicated to finance strategic and financially sustainable social initiatives such as women empowerment, agriculture value chains, MSME development, low cost renewable energy and low cost housing schemes through microfinance banks/institutions.

Mr. Afridi also highlighted the synergies that could be created between ‘NIT – Social Impact Fund’ and ‘Kamyaab Pakistan Program.’ NIT – SIF and KPP will go hand-in-hand by introducing mission oriented low cost capital for the lower income strata of the society through requisite assets supply and lending structures. The Finance Minister praised NIT’s efforts in addressing financial inclusion gap with such innovative and pioneering platforms and expressed confidence that investors will be attracted to the ‘double bottom line’ offering of SIF.

 
September 09, 2021 (PR No. 601)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, MOS on Information Farrukh Habib, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Governor State Bank Dr. Reza Baqir, Federal Secretaries, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented a summary regarding revision in tariff enabling Fauji Oil Terminal & Distribution Company (FOTCO) to meet operating and maintenance expenses which were approved in the year 2000, for the period of the 20 years, but not revised. After due deliberation, the Committee approved the revision in tariff for FOTCO, locked for 5 years, to be paid in equivalent Pak rupees. The ECC constituted a sub-Committee comprising representatives of M/o Petroleum, OGRA, PSO, M/s A.F Ferguson, M/o Maritime Affairs and Finance Division to be headed by Chairman Deputy Chairman Planning to decide about tariff differential accumulated between 2012 to 2020.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs tabled another summary regarding relaxation to 19 subsidiary companies of PNSC under Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) rules. The ECC approved relaxation in rules till June, 2021 with a direction to explore the option of formulating independent boards for the subsidiaries to be headed by CEO as per the principles of corporate governance.

The ECC considered and approved summary presented by the Ministry of National Health Services regarding exemption from taxes and duties on import of auto disable syringes and raw materials-products for local manufacturing of auto disable syringes enabling transformation from conventional to auto disable syringes.

Chairman FBR presented a summary to strengthen Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) to combat tax evasion and leakages of duties payable on specified goods through enforcement of Track & Trace system. The IREN will also check the goods supplied out of erstwhile FATA/PATA areas for ascertaining validity and conformity. The ECC considered and approved the summary.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister, as a Chairman of ECC, stated that FBR will create goodwill and avoid harassment in enforcement of rules and regulations for collection of taxes and duties. At the same time, FBR will take firm action to prevent tax evasion and broaden tax base to contribute into the national exchequer. A proper system of check and balance will be followed. The Minister urged FBR to use latest technology based solutions for tax collection to reduce reliance on traditional enforcement methodology.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC approved the tender for procurement of 120,000 MT of wheat in compliance with the directive of the Cabinet to procure 04 million metric ton of wheat to build strategic reserves during the current financial year. The ECC urged the Chairman, TCP to expedite efforts for importing wheat to stabilize local prices and to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country. The Committee also directed Chairman, TCP to present a detailed report to Adviser on Commerce regarding timeline of wheat import and other requisite details at the earliest. 

 
September 06, 2021 (PR No. 600)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting to review the trade balance situation

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over a meeting to review the trade balance situation at the Finance Division, today.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Secretary Commerce, Secretary M/o Information Technology, Secretary Finance Division, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Executive Director General BOI and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood participated through a video link.

Secretary Commerce briefed the participants about the trade balance situation over last two months. Considering the expansion in economic activity, import of one-time items like vaccine for COVID-19 as well as increased demand for raw materials have resulted in increasing imports during July and August, 2021.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that economy is in a state of growth. As economy registered a growth rate of 4% during FY2021, there is an increased demand for imports. As long as trade deficit is within a sustainable level, it will stimulate economic recovery, he added.

The Finance Minister stressed upon the Ministry of Commerce to conduct sensitivity analysis and build scenarios for effective forecasting both in imports as well as exports for each month of the year.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister said that the prudent policies adopted by the present government have stimulated economic recovery amid COVID-19 pandemic. Economy is heading in the right direction. The enhanced revenue collection along with improved ratings (Business Confidence Index and by international credit rating agencies) indicate that economy has gained momentum and is geared towards an inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

 
August 31, 2021 (PR No. 599)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with the Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Mr. Khalid Khursheed here at the Finance Division.

While extending a warm welcome to the Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan, the Finance Minister stated that development of the Gilgit-Baltistan is the top priority of the present government. All possible steps would be taken to ensure timely provision of funds for progress and development of Gilgit-Baltistan through mega projects.

The Chief Minister apprised the Finance Minister about the strategic importance of Gilgit-Baltistan and stressed the need for socio-economic and territorial development of the area. He also underlined the steps being taken to upgrade tourism to bring in more revenues for the local population. While tourism is a big and growing industry, there is a greater need to develop transport infrastructure, promoting high-yielding crops and live stock products to place Gilgit-Baltistan on an all-inclusive development trajectory. Announcement of making Skardu an international airport will usher in new era of development in the field of tourism.

The Finance Minister assured full support and facilitation on the occasion.

 
August 31, 2021 (PR No. 598)

POL Prices

Despite international price fluctuations in petroleum products and anticipated increase in future prices, the Government has reduced the prices in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers.

The Government is firmly committed to ensure stability in prices of essential commodities and has sustained the price pressure in line with its commitment to the common man. It is pertinent to mention that petroleum levy is kept at minimum which is a clear reflection that government is fully cognizant of the impact of fuel prices on the prices of basic items that affect people directly.

The prices of petroleum products w.e.f September 1, 2021 will be as follows:

Product

Existing pricesw.e.f.
16-08-2021

News pricesw.e.f
01-09-2021

Increase/
(-) Decrease

MS (Petrol)

119.80

118.30

-1.50

High Speed Diesel (HSD)

116.53

115.03

-1.50

Kerosene (SKO)

88.30

86.80

-1.50

Light Diesel Oil

85.77

84.77

-1.00

 
August 31, 2021 (PR No. 597)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with the SAPM on Food Security

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with the SAPM on Food Security Mr. Jamshed Cheema on price control strategy for essential commodities. Secretary Finance Division and Economic Advisor Finance Division also participated in the meeting.

While reviewing the value chain of essential commodities, the Finance Minister stressed upon the need for accurate forecasting to ensure smooth supply of basic items at affordable prices across the country. He emphasized the role of Provincial governments for taking proactive measures on top priority to bring price stability in items of daily use in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.

 The SAPM on Food Security apprised about the significance of maintaing strategic reserves and strict implementation of administrative measures in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers.

After detailed deliberations, it was decided that SAPM will hold consultations with all relevant stakeholders including Provincial Chief Secretaries and chalk out a comprehensive plan to examine the entire food chain of fifteen basic commodities from farm to retail market and identify gaps which needs to be filled in through accurate forecasting and proactive decision making to ensure availability of essential items at fair prices. Similarly, there will be a renewed focus on an effective communication strategy to keep general public well-informed about the measures being taken to ensure price stability and smooth supply of essential items throughout the country. It was also decided that key focus will be on provision of targeted subsidies for a meaningful market intervention.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that a multi-faceted price stability strategy will be implemented to facilitate farmers by offering price guarantees and confirmed take off to protect them from exploitation at the hands of middleman/wholesalers. Investment through public private partnership will be invited to develop multipurpose storage facilities for maintaining strategic reserves.

 
August 31, 2021 (PR No. 596)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Federal Secretaries, Chairman FBR, Chairman SECP and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir joined the meeting through a video link.

Aviation Division presented a summary requesting for provision of funds to meet emergent liabilities of the Roosevelt Hotel Corporation (RHC) including payment of local taxes and utilities. PIA-IL requested the ECC to utilize US$10 million available with the National Bank of Pakistan to clear the immediate financial liabilities.

After due deliberation, the ECC approved the summary with a direction to exercise due diligence in meeting emergent liabilities and submit utilization report, before the forum, regarding funding support by the GoP duly verified by the external auditors of the entity. The Committee also directed to engage a world class consultant to meet the financial and operational challenges faced by RHC.

The ECC approved a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) in favour of Election Commission of Pakistan, amounting to Rs. 215 million, for holding local Government elections in Cantonment Boards thereby, enabling the Election Commission of Pakistan to perform its constitutional obligations.

The ECC also accorded approval for a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) amounting to Rs. 50,100 million for extending rupee cover against financing by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) of US$300 million for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary goods and services.

 
August 30, 2021 (PR No. 595)

Minister for Finance and Revenue addressed (through a videolink) during the Round Table Conference (RTC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, delivered a keynote address (through a videolink) during the Round Table Conference (RTC) organized by the Daily Pakistan Observer on the topic “Islamic Banking-The Way Forward” in Karachi. Honourable President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi presided over the RTC. 

Among others, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Governor Sindh Mr. Imran Ismail, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Chairperson Pakistan Stock Exchange Shamshad Akhtar, Presidents/CEOs of Private Banks, Chairman Shariah Board and other distinguished guests participated in the RTC. Mr. Faisal Zahid Malik, Editor-in-Chief of the Pakistan Observer, daily newspaper delivered opening remarks on the occasion. 

In his remarks, the Finance Minister felicitated the Pakistan Observer, a well-established and a prominent english newspaper for organizing the Fourth Round Table Conference (RTC) on Islamic Banking. He commended the organizers for bringing a wide array of stakeholders of the Islamic banking industry together at the RTC. 

The Islamic Banking Industry has experienced a healthy progress over the years and the time has come to contemplate upon the ways and means on how to traverse the future path of taking this industry to its next phase of development. The Islamic Banking has grown rapidly both in local as well as in international markets and has assumed systematic significance in a number of jurisdictions. Apart from its faith-based appeal, the increasing interest in Islamic finance industry stems from its strong economic and social considerations. Its skewness towards asset backed and equity based transactions help promote entrepreneur friendliness and consideration of project viability, he added. 

The Finance Minister further stated that Islamic finance offers prudent financing options that ensure the transaction is less prone to debt crisis and the funds are employed for their prescribed purpose minimizing defaults. Therefore, the Islamic finance promotes financial inclusion by bringing that particular segment in financial ambit, which has consciously excluded themselves due to their faith-related sensitivities. 

Towards the end, the Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the progress made by the Islamic Banking since its inception. The Government of Pakistan has played a pivotal role in the promotion and development of Islamic Banking Industry over the period of time. The provision of a level playing field to the Islamic Banking and finance industry vis-a-vis the conventional financial system has been one of the priority areas of the present Government. The emergence of Sukuk has been a significant development in Islamic Capital Markets due to its ability to raise financing under shariah permissible modes while maintaining a strong linkage between the real economy and the financial sector. In case of Pakistan, the Sukuk market has witnessed significant progress as both sovereign and corporate entities have been issuing these instruments. 

The Finance Minister also underlined the efforts by the Government and the State Bank of Pakistan for facilitating the Islamic Banking Industry through provision of tax neutrality vis-a-vis conventional banking system. Recognition of SBP’s efforts at the global level by being awarded as the “Best Central Bank to promote Islamic Banking” is another feather in its cap which clearly reflects its better performance in comparison with other regulators around the world in promoting Islamic banking in the country. He also emphasized upon all stakeholders to explore the potential of Islamic finance in promoting infrastructure development in countries like Pakistan particularly in Public Private Partnership (PPP) delivery framework, he concluded. 

 
August 27, 2021 (PR No. 594)

Press Conference - Economic Advisory Council (EAC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over a Press Conference regarding formation of short, medium and long term plans across different sectors of the economy under the umbrella of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC). 

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, Mr. Arif Habib, Mr. Salim Raza, M. Ali Tabba and other distinguished members of the EAC from respective fields in the private sector also participated in the Press Conference. 

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, briefed the participants about the significance of a long term economic planning to achieve all-inclusive and sustained economic growth over the period of time. He apprised about the objectives being set across different sectors and strategies outlined to achieve those targets within a specific time frame. Fourteen vertical sub-groups have been generated which will present recommendations to the Prime Minister on different sectors. The Finance Minister further said that from September onwards, performance in 14 sectors would be closely monitored and Prime Minister would be given briefing about the execution of the plans every month. Hence plans do not focus only on devising strategies but also on ensuring implementation which is a major break with the past practice. 

The broad objectives include accelerating the overall economic growth rates from 3% to 6% in the next 03 years without creating pressure on balance of payments and by keeping inflationary expectations subdued. It also includes increasing tax to GDP ratio by 1.5 to 2% annually and attaining target of $30 billion exports by FY 2023-24 and keep up the momentum in foreign remittances. 

The key focus is to generate massive employment opportunities over the period of time in order to engage our youth in productive sectors of the economy. The sectors underlined for driving growth through the platform of EAC are agriculture including small farms, micro-enterprises, SMEs, construction, tourism and information technology. This will be achieved through coherent, consistent and well-coordinated polices between the federal, Provincial Governments as well as the private sector, he added. 

Under EAC, the medium and long term agenda includes a multi-pronged strategy for institutional reforms in the public sector. Provincial Governments will prioritize achieving universal access to quality education, health, access to drinking water and sanitation. Similarly, the Federal and Provincial Government would enhance focus on human development & develop physical infrastructure which is lagging behind in far-flung areas. The medium-to-long term planning also includes completion of CPEC projects especially in agriculture, industrial cooperation, socio-economic development and financial inclusion. It also includes Utilization of Special Technology Zones, IT parks, Incubation and Entrepreneurships Centres that complement CPEC investments. In sphere of power and energy, the long term planning encompasses implementiting renewable Energy Policy & National Power Policy to attain the goal of 60% energy generation from non-fossil fuels including hydro-power generation. 

The Finance Minister stated that a positive sentiment has been generated as economy is on the right track. It has embarked on the way of economic growth after stabilization phase due to prudent policies of the present Government. 

The EAC, in its advisory and capacity enhancement role, will create synergies across different sectors and facilitate active monitoring and pave way for sustained institutional reforms and modernization of public sector. 

The plan for resolving the circular debt includes reducing the cost of electricity generation by flattening the capacity payment curve through restructuring power producers. This will be done through a combination of re-profiling of project debts, reduction in Return on Equity (EOC) and O & M components of tariffs. At the same time, steps will be taken to boost demand for grid electricity by incentivizing captive-to-grid shift and integration of NTDC-KE networks. It will also include replacing cross-subsidies with direct subsidies, lowering tariffs for high consumption categories, target price deregulation and improving governance through engagement with the private sector. 

A multi-faceted and multi-dimensional price stability strategy will be that farmers would be offered price guarantees and confirmed off takes to protect them from exploitation at the hands of wholesalers / middleman. Investment through public private partnership will be invited to develop multi-purpose storage facilities for maintaining strategic reserves. Moreover, small markets will be built close to production clusters and air transport could be utilized to give farmers direct access to the far-flung domestic markets. This will ensure price stability in items of daily use. 

The Finance Minister shared a comprehensive document from the EAC with the participants on the occasion. 

 
August 27, 2021 (PR No. 593)

Comprehensive Roadmap put in place to ensure inclusive, sustainable growth

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin said Friday that the government had put in place comprehensive roadmap, focusing on 14 special sectors of economy, to ensure planned, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country. 

Addressing a press conference here, the Minister said that it was after the year 1972 that such a strategy was being presented by the government under which short, medium and long-term plans were being devised by working groups with the consultation of stakeholders and their implementation would be monitored. 

The minister said that from September, performance in these 14 sectors would be monitored and prime minister would be given briefing about the execution of the plans every month. 

He said the exercise was aimed at accelerating growth rates from 3% to 6% in three years, keeping inflationary expectations subdued, generating employment opportunities, and reducing poverty by strengthening social safety net. 

Hence, the minister said, the plans do not focus only on devising strategies but also on ensuring their implementation, which he said was unprecedented. 

He said that there were growth cycles of 4 to 5 years, but the country could not sustain it due to inconsistency, hence this strategy was aimed at bringing stability and sustainability in economic policies and performances. 

He said that making this comprehensive plan was the organized way of moving forward as is being practiced in developed countries. He said, if there was no plan, everyone would be going in their his/her direction, hence would lead the country to nowhere, so these short, medium and long term plans have been devised with the help of all stakeholders to go on right direction. 

The minister said that economic experts of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) would be helping different ministries to implement the plan, hence there was no need to have fresh inductions in the ministry. 

He said Economic Reform Unit at the Ministry of Finance would be facilitating these activities. Talking about the performance of economy, the minister said that the economic indicators were showing positive results citing Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey that indicated that the overall BCI has increased by 59%, adding that textile exports also went up by 17 percent whereas the country was now exporting mobile. 

Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday said the government was striving to ensure proper rate of returns to farmers for their produces to improve their living standards as well as maintaining sustainable agriculture growth in the country. 

Imam said that special focus was being paid on up-gradation of research institutions to bring the quality of local scientist at par with international standards for benefiting local extension and growers. 

He said that proper policies of current government was bearing results as all major crop like wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize and other minor crops witnessed significant increase during last season, adding that due to timely announcement of minimum support price of wheat, local grain output increased by 2.2 million tons. 

Meanwhile, other crops including rice output increased by 1 million tons, maize by 700,000 tons and sugarcane output also increased, he said adding that due to sustainable wheat output, local demand and supply would likely to remain on smooth position. 

The government had announced intervention price for cotton crop after 8 years, he said adding it would encourage and protect the local farmers and help in enhancing its output as cotton was an important cash crop of the country and a vital source of raw material for local industrial sector. 

Imam said that government was striving to ensure the provision of inputs on affordable rates, besides extending the outreach of research and extension services to the doorstep of farmers, adding that it was expected to achieve 10 million cotton bales during current season. 

The minister said that agriculture sector was badly neglected by the all previous governments and was not included in national main stream from last 20 years, adding that agriculture sector was growing with an average of 4 percent from 1960 and during last 20 years it was gradually on declining trend. 

During last financial year, despite COVID-19 Pandemic, under the special directives of Prime Minister budgetary allocations for agriculture sector was increased, adding that measures were taken to promote mechanization of agriculture sector. 

The government was also providing subsidies for the construction of water channels, purchase of laser land leveler, adding that in order to involve the huge bulge of youth in agriculture, agriculture loans would also be provided under prime minister’s Kamyab Pakistan Programme. Abdul Razak Dawood said that his main focus was on raising exports which would help strengthening the country’s economy. He said the government had fixed the target for the country’s total exports at $38.7 billion during current fiscal year out which $31.2 billion export target is fixed for goods while the rest $7.5 billion for services sector. 

“So far, we are on target in goods’ exports while we are also hopeful to achieve the services exports’ target,” he added. The Adviser noted that at present, pressure was mounting on the country’s imports which would be controlled. 

He said the imports of the country were high because traditionally Pakistan always relied on trade that was not ‘Made in Pakistan’. “Now we are implementing the policy of ‘Made in Pakistan’. 

The best example of which is that the number of locally manufactured mobile phones has now exceeded the phones that were imported,” he added. In addition he pointed out that the industrialization in the country was increasing because of tariff rationalization. 

He said that the government had waived off the tariff on 50 percent raw material for enhancing the manufacturing of the country. Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtyar said that due to COVID outbreak, manufacturing and production sectors were badly dented around the globe and in Pakistan as well. 

He said despite the pandemic, the country’s Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) growth managed to grow by historic 15% in fiscal year 2020-21 which was the highest in 10 years. He said keeping in view the higher LSM growth, the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth which remained 3.7% in the previous year could go up to 4.5% when the final figures would be calculated. 

The minister informed new industrial sectors would be introduced that would help raising exports and substituting the imports of the country. To a question about divestment process of Pakistan Steels Mills, the finance minister informed that the process was fully on track as the express of interests in this regards were being called by next week. 

To another question with respect to Pakistan’s ongoing programme with the International Monetary Fund, the minister said the programme would not be called of and it would continue as per plan.

 
August 25, 2021 (PR No. 592)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of Monetary and Fiscal Policies Co-ordination Board

A meeting of the Monetary and Fiscal Policies Co-ordination Board was held under the chairmanship of the Minister for Finance & Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, here today. Other members of the Board present in the meeting were the Adviser to the PM on Commerce & Investment, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Governor SBP, Dr. Asad Zaman and senior officials of the Finance Division.

Finance Minister briefed the Members of the Board on the current economic situation of the country and highlighted the major incentives given in the budget due to which business confidence is improving and economy is moving on strong economic recovery path. It was also informed that all key economic indicators relating to real sector of the economy, fiscal sector, monetary and external sectors are going well and government is proactively executing all policy measures to achieve the major socio-economic targets of the current fiscal year. He also highlighted the possible risks to the economic activities and strategy to counter these risks which were appreciated by the members of the Board.

Secretary Finance briefed the Members of the Board on budgetary allocations for various activities and informed about the ways and means to maintain the fiscal discipline. He also shared the strategy to contain the non-development expenditure with the focus to optimally utilize resources of the country and improve the service delivery at large for the common man. 

Governor SBP informed the Board about Monetary Policy stance. He shared the analysis of the SBP on policy rate, credit availability, exchange rate movement and inflationary situation. He also explained that policy mix is supporting the growth momentum and highlighted the increase in commodities prices in the global market which have implications for higher import bill and inflation. It was also informed that it is encouraging signs that exports are picking up alongwith increase in import of machineries which will enhance productive capacity of the economy and create exportable surplus. He also explained the policy measures which SBP is executing to encourage business activities in various sectors of the economy and highlighted that there are ample opportunities for investors/exporters and youth of the country to take benefits from SBP’s schemes to extend or initiate their business.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission apprised the meeting about the execution of development activities. He also highlighted the possible options for resource mobilization and to utilize them effectively for development of potential sectors of the economy. 

The Adviser to the PM on Commerce & Investment briefed about the structure of trade of the country alongwith major destinations. He also presented the various measures which are under execution to enhance exports in potential areas. He also mentioned the various categories of imports which can be rationalized by focusing on their substitutes. A comprehensive road map was also discussed to minimize trade deficit of the country. It was also highlighted that fiscal and monetary facilitation will continue for potential sectors of the economy.

Dr. Asad Zaman appreciated the major fiscal and monetary measures of the government which are supporting the business activities. He also highlighted the potential areas where Pakistan has comparative advantages in export market and also identified some low hanging fruits for import substitution. He emphasized that the goal of well-coordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policies is to achieve full employment.

Minister for Finance & Revenue emphasized the importance of Monetary and Fiscal Policies Co-ordination Board for designing and executing policies to achieve economic targets and overcome the possible risks. He advised to make this forum more effective for maintaining better coordination of policies to achieve the planned macroeconomic goals. The chair urged that the Board should be more proactive in reviewing the impact of Fiscal and Monetary Policies on economic growth, employment and external sector of the economy, he concluded.

 
August 25, 2021 (PR No. 591)

World Bank commends the support extended by the Govt of Pakistan for evacuation of staff from Kabul

The President of the World Bank Mr. David Malpass has commended the support extended by the Government of Pakistan in evacuating and temporarily relocating their staff along with families from Kabul despite rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan. The World Bank appreciated the support for rapid visa processing, safe passage in Kabul to the airport, and chartering the aeroplane of Pakistan International Airlines which moved the staff and families to safety.

The World Bank thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Finance Minister along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Interior and other departments for the hospitality and courtesy extended to the World Bank Group staff and families.

 
August 25, 2021 (PR No. 590)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with the Chairman FMPAC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting with the Chairman and other members of the Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) held at the Finance Division.

While welcoming the Chairman and members of FMPAC, the Finance Minister lauded the contribution of the fertilizer industry in the national development. The fertilizer industry is of paramount importance in the agriculture sector as agriculture contributes about 22% to Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs almost half of Pakistan’s employed workforce in agro-based industries directly or indirectly.

The Government is firmly committed to encourage and incentivize fertilizer manufacturers as well as exporters to meet domestic demand effectively. There is a need to bring in more investment in the fertilizer sector for enhancing domestic production and higher crop yields, he added.

The Finance Minister further stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a supply shock to the global commodity markets and pushed up the prices of agricultural inputs substantially. The present government is providing gas / RLNG at concessional rates to the fertilizer plants for sustainable production during these testing times.

The Chairman FMPAC apprised the Finance Minister about the challenges faced by the fertilizer Industry such as cash flow crunch, mismatch between input and output GST on Urea production etc.

The Finance Minister directed the Chairman FBR to expedite disbursement of refunds to improve the liquidity position of the fertilizer industry. He also constituted a Committee comprising Secretary M/o NFS&R, Additional Secretary (CF) Finance Division and other relevant stakeholders to hold a consultative session and bring forward recommendations with mutual consensus for a way forward. He assured full support and facilitation to the fertilizer industry on the occasion.

The Chairman FMPAC and other representatives of the fertilizer Industry complimented the Finance Minister for his pro-farmer approach and assured full cooperation.

Among others, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o National Food Security & Research, Chairman FBR and other senior officers were also present during the meeting.

 
August 25, 2021 (PR No. 589)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Railways Mr. Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Secretaries, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Chairman SECP Mr. Aamir Khan and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The ECC considered and approved a request for a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for extending humanitarian assistance to Syria in form of edible items. The ECC allowed procurement of edible items through MOFA (Pakistan Mission in Syria) 200 tons each of rice and flour amounting to approx Rs. 44.24 million.

The Ministry of National Food Security & Research presented a summary before the ECC to waive-off all applicable taxes/duties on the import of 12 drones donated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), China for controlling desert locust in Pakistan. The Committee approved the summary for exemption of all applicable duties/taxes in this regard.

The ECC approved the summary tabled by the M/o Industries and Production for import of 200,000 MT of Sugar for maintaining strategic reserves. The Secretary, M/o Industries and Production briefed the Committee about previous tenders floated for the purchase of sugar in the international market. He also apprised about cancellation of previous tenders due to volatility in the prices of commodities in the international market particularly due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He further apprised that rising transportation cost and petroleum prices have contributed significantly into international price hike in food commodities.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister, as a Chairman of ECC, took notice of the price fluctuations in international market of commodities and directed to constitute a sub-committee comprising of Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Secretary Commerce, Secretary Finance Division and Secretary Law Division to hold a consultative session and work out modalities for placing tenders in international market in a timely manner to get a most affordable price for importing food items to save precious foreign exchange reserves of the country. He also directed to present recommendations for improving the overall estimation process by Provinces through forecasting on scientific basis for commodities where price risk is involved. Proper estimates should be presented for import of particular food items to fulfil all codal formalities in a timely manner, he stressed.

The ECC approved import of 200,000 MT of Sugar with immediate effect through TCP and directed to workout arrangements for the remaining 300,000 MT of sugar through Government to Government mode of procurement at the earliest possible to build strategic reserves and ensure smooth supply of sugar across the country before the arrival of the fresh crop. Similarly, the ECC also approved the corresponding financial arrangement for the import of 200,000 MT of sugar during the meeting.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (NFS&R), the ECC accorded approval to import 400,000 MT of wheat and directed to explore and expedite the option for importing the remaining amount of wheat through Government to Government arrangement.

The ECC emphasized the importance of building strategic reserves in wake of evolving situation in Afghanistan which may affect the prices in the domestic market.

The ECC considered and approved a Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to approx. Rs. 24,555 million (US $150 million) to NDMA for procurement of vaccine for COVID-19 including transportation and handling charges in order to meet the target of 85 million population to be vaccinated by the end of year 2021.

Lastly, a Technical Supplementary Grant was approved in favour of M/o National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination amounting to Rs. 2376.266 million for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) for the FY 2021-22 as EPI is a high-priority initiative of the Government which aims to immunize more than seven million children under 1-year of age against ten vaccine preventable diseases (VPD).

 
August 24, 2021 (PR No. 588)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with representatives of Cement Manufacturers

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with the representatives of Cement Manufacturers at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Secretary Finance Division and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the participants about the prevailing Cement prices. He also drew a comparison about changes in the price of Cement per bag over the last three years particularly amid COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the important role being played by the Cement industry in stimulating economic growth during testing times.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister underscored the importance of Cement as a building block of the Construction Industry. He lauded the valuable contribution of the Cement industry which has triggered a V-shape economic recovery during Coronavirus pandemic in the country. He also underlined various stimulus measures taken by the Government to support the Construction industry that led to a strong rebound in economic activity during the ongoing pandemic, he added.

While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister stressed the need to provide industrial inputs such as Cement and Steel at affordable prices to carry forward the momentum of economic recovery amid COVID-19 as well as in post-COVID-19 scenario. He emphasized to reduce the prices of Cement as the Cement industry is of paramount importance due to its backward and forward integration with the Construction sector as a whole.

The representatives of Cement Manufacturers also presented their perspective on the occasion. They were of the view that the recent escalation in the prices of Cement are driven by the rise in input costs. Also the overall profitability in the Cement sector is still the lowest as compared to other countries in the region.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister urged the representatives of the Cement Manufacturers to hold a consultative session with relevant stakeholders and present a firmed-up proposal regarding sustainable pricing mechanism for Cement sector in order to boost the overall Construction Industry by providing industrial inputs at a reasonable cost.

The Finance Minister affirmed full support and facilitation to the Cement Industry on the occasion.

 
August 24, 2021 (PR No. 587)

Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

H.E. Mr. Tarek Mohamed Dahroug, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin here at the Finance Division today.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Ambassador, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan and Egypt enjoy brotherly relations and expressed Pakistan’s desire to further strengthen economic and business cooperation between the two countries. Both sides exchanged views on matters of mutual interests and agreed that the level of bilateral trade was not satisfactory and there was a need to work together to enhance it substantially. Finance Minister further stated that Pakistan’s close relationship with the Arab World warrants higher trade levels.  

During the meeting, both sides agreed to work on the idea of establishing a Pakistan-Egypt Business Council and forging closer collaboration between the Ministries of Finance of both the countries. They also explored the possibility of enhancing bilateral trade, with initial focus on rice and cotton, in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Towards the end, the Finance Minister requested H.E. Ambassador to convey his best wishes to the Egyptian Finance Minister and to convey his sentiments that both countries should work together on economic front for mutual progress and prosperity.

H.E. Ambassador thanked the Finance Minister and expressed firm commitment for making measured progress for further strengthing business and economic linkages between the two countries.

 
August 23, 2021 (PR No. 586)

Finance Minister welcomes trust and confidence shown by the Business Community

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has welcomed the trust and confidence shown by the business community in Pakistan over the economic policies of the present government.

The recently conducted Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey- Wave 20 by OICCI has indicated that the overall BCI has increased by 59% and stands at +9% (from -50% during May 2020) and +34% (from -74% in May, 2020) for OICCI members; as positive perceptions on several aspects have pushed back some negative macro-economic factors during the last survey. The main drivers leading towards the dramatic increase in business confidence are trust in current government’s policies, better law and order situation and the relaxation in lockdowns. Respondents believe that the next 6 months will be even better than the previous 6 months with higher sales volume, profits and return on investment.

The survey was conducted in 9 major cities of the country and was participated by manufacturers (40%), service providers (35%) and wholesalers/ retailers (25%).

The Finance Minister stated that the government has instilled a new zeal in the business community through its progressive, consistent and transparent policies. Federal Budget 2021-22 was welcomed by the business community as pro-people, growth-oriented and business friendly. Thus, with other positive developments taking place on the international front, like the IMF’s SDR allocation for member countries including Pakistan, will lead towards an all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth as envisaged by the Prime Minister.

 
August 16, 2021 (PR No. 585)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with the Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin held a meeting with the Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam and SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Cheema to review the price trend of essential commodities. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Secretary M/o National Food Security Research, Provincial Chief Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

SAPM on Food Security Mr. Jamshed Cheema briefed the Finance Minister on building strategic reserves of essential commodities namely wheat, sugar, pulses, edible oil/ghee, tomatoes, onion, garlic and chicken to prevent hoarding and undue profiteering. The underlying rationale is to stabilize the prices of items of daily use. The Government will build the strategic reserves by importing 10-20% of the total consumption of the staple food items and supply into the market when needed in order to bridge the supply and demand gap. This will check the price fluctuation effectively.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister directed the concerned Ministries to accelerate the import of wheat & sugar and ensure that sufficient stocks are available for smooth supply during the current financial year. He also urged the concerned Ministries and TCP to exercise due diligence and take appropriate measures for risk hedging while floating tenders in international market.

The Finance Minister urged the representatives of the Provincial governments to take corrective measures for reducing price differential between farm and retail prices. He emphasised the need to review the entire food value chain and ensure that the farmers get a commensurate share of market value of their produce.

The SAPM on Food Security stated that farmers must follow the international best practices and look into alternate options for perishable commodities like Tomato puree, Onion powder, Garlic powder etc to meet peak demand due to seasonal variations. This will offer cost-effective products for the consumers as well.

 
August 16, 2021 (PR No. 584)

High Commissioner of Canada for Pakistan, called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

Ms. Wendy Gilmour, the High Commissioner of Canada for Pakistan, called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin here at the Finance Division.

While extending a warm welcome to the Canadian High Commissioner, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan has long-standing and multidimensional ties with Canada. Canada has a large number of Pakistani diaspora and people to people contacts contribute an important component of the bilateral relations. The Finance Minister said that Canada is one of the major development partners and stressed the need to further strengthening business and economic linkages between the two countries.

The Finance Minister briefed the Canadian High Commissioner about the recent economic developments and initiatives. The Finance Minister stated that enhancing revenue collection, boosting exports, increasing remittances and making the energy sector sustainable are the foremost priorities of the current government. In addition to these, the government will promote agriculture, housing and SME sector while Kamyab Pakistan Program will be its signature project. The Minister added that for inclusive and sustainable growth, the government is preparing various short, medium and long term plans in 14 priority areas and it is his firm belief that these plans will bring about a turnaround of the economy and establish it on a more sound footing.

The Canadian High Commissioner thanked the Finance Minister for his time and informed him that the Canadian Business Community sees great investment potential in wind-power generation, power transmission systems as well as mining sector in Pakistan. She stated that government’s support in these areas will attract Canadian investors to bring their businesses to Pakistan.

The Finance Minister assured the Canadian High Commissioner of his support for attracting investment in Pakistan.

 
August 16, 2021 (PR No. 583)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding continuation of concessional rates of electricity and RLNG to export-oriented sectors. Secretary Commerce briefed the Committee that extension of concessional rates of electricity and RLNG is important for sustained increase in exports by providing energy at regionally competitive rates.

After due deliberations, the Committee approved the continuation of electricity and gas subsidy for export-oriented sectors to support the momentum of growth in exports during the FY 2021-22.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister emphasized the need to incentivize export-oriented sectors in order to take our exports to the next level. At the same time, the Finance Minister stressed the need to rationalize usage of energy inputs. For this purpose, the ECC constituted a sub-committee comprising Minister for Energy, Minister for Industries & Production, Advisor on Commerce, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission,  Additional Secretary (CF) Finance Division and other relevant officials for presenting a plan to resolve the issue of continued use of gas by some units for power generation and non-cooperation in audit of such use. The sub-committee was directed to present its recommendations before ECC within 30 days for further deliberation.

The ECC considered and approved a summary presented by the Power Division for extension of incremental consumption package for K-Electric industrial consumers of X-WAPDA DISCOs & K-Electric and application of incremental consumption package for BI(Non ToU) consumers of X-WAPDA DISCOs and K-Electric at the rate of Rs.12.96/kwh from 1st July 2021 to 31st December 2021.

The ECC also approved another summary by the Petroleum Division regarding NOC for issuance of the Parent Company Guarantees/Corporate Guarantees by each of the consortium companies, on a joint and several basis, in favour of ADNOC and SCFEA to pursue international exploration and production opportunity in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power & Petroleum Mr. Tabish Gauhar, Federal Secretary Finance, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Power, Secretary Petroleum,  Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting, Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir also participated through videolink.

 
August 15, 2021 (PR No. 582)

POL Prices

 
August 13, 2021 (PR No. 581)

Pakistan's Significant Progress on Technical Compliance on FATF Recommendations

Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has published results of Pakistan’s third Mutual Evaluation follow-up Report on 12 August 2021. As per the report, Pakistan has achieved compliant/largely compliant rating in 4 more recommendations leading aggregate to 35/40 Recommendations rated as Compliant (C) or Largely Compliant (LC). Pakistan is now in the top tier of countries that have achieved a rating of C/LC for over 35 of the 40 FATF Recommendations. Moreover, Pakistan has also achieved the rating of Largely Compliance / Compliance in all Big Six Recommendations of the FATF which includes R.3(Money laundering offence), R.5(Terrorist financing offence), R.6(Targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism & terrorist financing), R.10(Customer due diligence), R.11(Record keeping) and R.20(Reporting of suspicious transactions). Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of Pakistan led the whole process of Pakistan’s Mutual Evaluation cycle and defended the ratings during their discussions in the Mutual Evaluation Committee Meetings of APG.

After this upgrade, Pakistan is well placed in technical compliance in comparison to many of the countries. For example, if Pakistan’s position is compared against G20 countries, then Pakistan is on 4th after Italy (38), Saudi Arabia (38) and UK (38).

Pakistan would continue this momentum in addressing remaining gaps identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report-2019 and would seek upgrades in remaining 5 recommendations, in the fourth Follow-up Report.

Pakistan’s MER was adopted in August 2019 in which Pakistan was rated compliant and largely complaint in 10 out of 40 FATF Recommendations for the Technical Compliance. Pakistan carried out major legal reforms with the enactment of 17 Laws along with relevant rules and regulations. These laws not only strengthened the systems in Pakistan but also brought in the sustainability.

 
August 13, 2021 (PR No. 580)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with a delegation of exporters

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with a delegation of exporters at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mr. Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Mr. Fakhar Imam, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqar, Chairman FBR, Secretary Petroleum, Secretary Commerce and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The session was chaired by the Advisor to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood. In his opening remarks, the Advisor on Commerce welcomed the representatives of exporters and commended their role for putting exports on high growth trajectory during testing times due to Coronavirus pandemic. He affirmed full support and facilitation to resolve liquidity crisis faced by the exporters.    

In his remarks, the Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Tarin, urged to adopt a forward looking approach for enhancing export earnings to reduce trade deficit. He directed to find a win-win situation with reference to protracted issues for taking our value-added exports to the next level. He emphasised the need for robust and sustained growth in exports on immediate basis.

The Finance Minister also appreciated the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industries and Production and the State Bank of Pakistan for their outstanding support and timely interventions for the small and medium industries amid COVID-19.

While responding to queries related to the current energy requirements, the Finance Minister stressed the need for load management by switching to alternate fuel options during peak demand period. He directed to form a working group comprising of representatives from respective utility organizations for a prompt action to fulfil energy requirements on real-time basis, in respective areas.

The Finance Minister assured swift payments to the exporters against their refunds. He directed FBR that refunds requiring Provincial Government’s verification must be given on an interim basis subject to future adjustments. He constituted a sub-committee comprising of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, FBR and the SBP to sort out such matters at an accelerated pace. The underlying rationale is to ensure timely payments for exporters amid cash flow crunch.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister reiterated his unflinching support to the exporters and encouraged them to come up with a well-rounded proposal enabling Government for better facilitation and timely support amid COVID-19 and in post-COVID scenario.

It was decided that meeting with a delegation of exporters will be held on regular basis to review issues faced by them. The delegation thanked the Honorable Ministers for their support to address liquidity challenges for improved cash flow position.

 
August 12, 2021 (PR No. 579)

Pakistan to receive $2.77 bln from IMF on Aug 23 (APP News)

The Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, addressing a Press Conference at the Finance Division.

 
August 12, 2021 (PR No. 578)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with the representatives of Daraz

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting with the representatives of ‘Daraz’, one of the prominent digital market- places in Pakistan.

Daraz was represented by Mr. Bjarke Mikkelsen, CEO Daraz Group, Mr. Ehsan Saya, MD Daraz Pakistan, Ms. Kiran Faruqi, CFO Daraz Group, and Mr. Ahmad Hassan, CFO Daraz Pakistan.

The Finance Minister welcomed the digital market-place operator and said that the current government is supportive of the idea of promoting the E-Commerce industry as a catalyst to economic growth and source of future foreign direct investments. The Minister said that he sees great potential of promotion of small and medium enterprises in Pakistan if provided support by digital platforms like Daraz. Such collaborative efforts will also create employment opportunities for the youth in the country, he added.

MD Daraz Pakistan, briefed the Finance Minister that his online platform offers 20 million different products and is visited by 15 million people every month. He said that various concessions offered to the IT industry by the government have proven helpful in promoting the e-commerce industry in Pakistan.  CEO Daraz, Mr. Bjarke Mikkelsen, requested to have more representation from the E-Commerce industry in policy making and asked to simplify the tax administration processes and procedures for e-commerce platforms so that compliance becomes easier.

The Finance Minister affirmed his support for the growth of e-commerce industry in Pakistan and directed Daraz to propose initiatives where the Government could work in collaboration with the e-commerce industry.

The Daraz team thanked the Finance Minister for his support and committed to present their proposals soon on the inclusion of the SME sector through the e-commerce platforms.

 
August 11, 2021 (PR No. 577)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECNEC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today.

Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives presented a summary regarding Attabad Lake Hydropower Project to be executed by WAPDA amounting to Rs. 25.4 billion. The project envisages construction of 54 MW hydropower project located on the bank of Hunza River, towards downstream end of Attabad Lake. The energy generated from the above project will be transmitted to the load centres in Hunza Valley.

After due deliberations, the Committee directed the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan and WAPDA to work out an updated proposal ensuring sustainability of the project and present before the Committee for requisite approval. The Finance Minister stated that development of the Gilgit-Baltistan is a top priority of the government.

Ministry of Planning and Development tabled another summary regarding Pakistan Optical Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-02) to be sponsored and executed by SUPARCO. The satellite will generate very high resolution earth imaginary and designed for service life of at least seven years.

After detailed discussion, the Committee directed to present a feasibility report of the entire project to guage its viability in the long run. Also the Committee directed to hire independent financial advisor(s) for exploring funding options and strengthening internal financial capabilities. The services of globally reputed technical advisors / consultants may be hired for support in design and procurement.

Federal Minister for Planning & Development Mr. Asad Umar, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

 
August 11, 2021 (PR No. 576)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

The Secretary Finance made a detailed presentation on National Remittance Loyalty Program (NRLP) before the Committee. He stated that remittances form backbone of the economy. The proactive policy measures by the Government and the State Bank of Pakistan have incentivised the overseas Pakistanis and encouraged them to remit their hard earned money through formal channels.  This has contributed in achieving record remittance of $29.4 billion in the last fiscal year. It’s a clear reflection of confidence in Pakistan’s economy by overseas Pakistanis.

In order to continue the positive trajectory of remittances, the State Bank of Pakistan will introduce a mobile application, NRLP, which will offer incentives/rewards to overseas Pakistani against each remittance transaction in accordance with a set criteria. The above application will be formally launched towards the end of October 2021.

After due deliberations, the ECC approved the structure and estimated financial impact of the NRLP with a view to incentivize remitters to transfer funds through formal channels thus further strengthening the inflow of remittances. The Finance Minister directed to exercise due diligence before the launch for seamless integration with all service providers to ensure smooth working of NRLP.

Among others, Federal Minister for Interior Mr. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Energy Mr. Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Mr. Asad Umar, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Power & Petroleum Mr. Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr. Reza Baqir also participated through a video link.

 
August 11, 2021 (PR No. 575)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of CCOSOEs

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on State Owned Enterprises (CCOSOEs).

The Secretary Finance Division briefed the Committee on the performance of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) over the years. A comparative analysis was presented from FY 2013-14 to FY 2018-19. The Committee noted that the Government’s broad-based reform process including timely completion of SOEs Board of Directors and appointments at managerial positions alongwith strict fiscal discipline has significantly improved the performance of SOEs resulting in reduction of aggregate losses from 286 billion in 2017-18 to Rs.143 billion in 2018-19. These SOEs have even registered marginal profit of Rs.31 billion during FY 2018-19, excluding National Highway Authority (NHA). The Secretary Finance further updated the forum that Finance Division is in the process of finalization of SOEs Report for the FY 2020 which shall be finalized by the end September 2021.

The CCOSOEs acknowledged the valuable contribution of the concerned Ministries / Divisions particularly Advisor to the Prime Minister Dr. Ishrat Hussain on categorization of SOEs through triage and drawing up holistic proposals for restructuring and strengthening its operations after robust engagement and consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister directed the Finance Division to present an updated analysis (till FY June 2020) before Cabinet alongwith suggestions for a way forward and to form a team of professionals (with relevant experience) to review the performance of the SOEs against the set benchmarks on monthly and quarterly basis.

Federal Minister for Privatization Mr. Mohammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Federal Secretary Finance, Federal Secretary Power and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

 
August 09, 2021 (PR No. 574)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stressed the importance of meaningful interventions in the market by building strategic reserves of basic commodities namely wheat, sugar, edible oil/ghee, vegetables and pulses to prevent hoarding and undue profiteering. The Government will flood the markets with necessary commodities to bridge the supply and demand gap where needed to check price hike. Pakistan is the net importer of key food items such as wheat, sugar and pulses. The current upsurge in international food prices amid coronavirus pandemic makes it imperative to build strategic reserves of essential Commodities to bring stability in prices of items of daily use.

The Finance Minister directed Secretary M/o NFS&R to workout modalities for establishing commodity warehouses, storage facilities and agri-malls on basis of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and present a detailed proposal before the Committee. SAPM on Food Security Mr. Jamshed Cheema stated that a proposal in this regard has been finalized and would be presented shortly for approval.

Secretary, M/o NFS&R updated the NPMC about availability of sufficient stocks of wheat in the country. He also updated the Committee about the efforts underway regarding procurement of wheat. The Chairman TCP apprised the NPMC about the tenders floated in international market for purchasing Wheat and Sugar.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction and directed to complete the procurement of Wheat and Sugar in phases, keeping in view, the prevailing international prices. The Finance Minister also urged to look into financial hedging of risks with reference to import of key commodities.

While reviewing the current market price and stocks of Sugar, the Finance Minister constituted a sub-committee comprising of Secretary Ministry of NFS&R, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Chairman FBR, Chairman TCP  and a representative of the Ministry of Commerce to expedite import of 0.6 million metric ton of Sugar to ensure smooth supply across the country.

The Chairperson CCP apprised the Committee about the stern actions being taken to end cartelization in the edible Oil and Ghee sector to ensure fair competition throughout the country. The Finance Minister directed the Chairperson CCP to accelerate efforts and present a detailed report before the forum at the earliest.

Earlier, the Secretary Finance briefed the meeting on trends in weekly SPI, which increased marginally by 0.12% during the week under review. Prices of 06 items including chicken, eggs, wheat flour bags, onions and tomatoes have declined whereas 23 items remained stable.

5%, vegetable ghee 29.40% and wheat 11.77% respectively. The Government absorbed the pressure by giving subsidies and importing staple food items in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers.

Similarly, there was enormous increase in the price of crude oil by 73.8% on international level whereas Government of Pakistan reduced levy on petrol and petroleum based products. The Coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with global food prices due to supply chain disruptions. The above comparative analysis reflects that the Govt sustained pressure to provide relief and keep overall inflation in check.

Among others, the SAPM on Food Security Mr. Jamshed Cheema, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o Industries & Production, Secretary M/o National Food Security & Research, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Chairman FBR, Chief Commissioner ICT, Chairman TCP, Chairman CCP, DG PBS and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

 
August 05, 2021 (PR No. 573)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of the APEX Committee

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the APEX Committee on broadening the tax base and integration of retail businesses held at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister commended FBR over record revenue collection during the month of July, 2021 equal to Rs.413 billion which is 21% above the set target for the month. He further stated that the outstanding revenue collection is a reflection of Government’s prudent policies for sustained economic growth. This clearly indicates that fiscal consolidation efforts are on track with key focus to broaden tax base by using artificial intelligence and innovative ways for bringing more people into the tax net, he added.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister directed FBR to continue its diligent efforts for enhancing the tax collection.

 
August 02, 2021 (PR No. 572)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin presided over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, SAPM National Food Security & Research Mr. Jamshed Cheema, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Commerce, Additional Secretary M/o PD&SI, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Chairman CDA and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary Finance briefed the meeting about the slight uptick in weekly SPI, which increased by 0.03 percent during the week under review. Prices of 06 items witnessed a decline and 22 remained stable. The Committee also reviewed the monthly inflation trend and noted that the CPI, which is 8.4% for July 2021 has declined by 1.3% as compared to the last month i.e. 9.7% in June 2021. 

The Price Monitoring Committee also reviewed the prices of wheat, sugar, pulses, chicken and other essential food items in the country.

The Secretary, M/o NFS& R updated the Committee about the wheat procurement process. He apprised that order for purchase of 220,000 ton of wheat has already been placed.  While taking stock of the situation, the NPMC directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to take immediate steps for the import of 02 million tons of wheat to ensure adequate stocks of the wheat in the country.

Similarly, the Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC about the efforts underway for import of 600,000 tons of sugar for maintaining buffer stocks. The tendering process has been initiated and adequate stocks of sugar will be available in the country until the next sugar season, he added. The NPMC directed the Ministry of Industries & Production to expedite the tendering process and update Committee on weekly basis.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government in building strategic reserves of essential commodities (sugar, wheat, pulses, edible oil/ghee etc) to ensure price stability and prevent undue profiteering and hoarding. The strategic reserves would ensure timely availability of basic commodities to bridge the gap between supply and demand. To this effect, the Finance Minister directed Secretary, M/o NFS&R to come up with a firm plan and place before the committee for discussion and requisite approval.

The Secretary Finance briefed the meeting on the prices of petroleum products in the neighbouring countries. The Committee commended that per unit cost of petrol and electricity are cheapest in Pakistan as compared to the regional economies. The Government has absorbed the pressure in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers. While reviewing the prices, the Finance Minister directed the Petroleum Division to analyze the impact of the current escalation in LNG prices on the consumption of other fuels in order to look for alternatives and ensure availability of sufficient stocks.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister highlighted the rising trend in international commodity prices amid COVID-19 pandemic and underscored the efforts being made for keeping the prices of essential items in check. He further stated  that any assistance, financial or otherwise, needed in this regard will be provided to the respective provincial administrations and departments concerned  for effective monitoring and to lessen the burden of price fluctuation due to international price hike.

 
July 29, 2021 (PR No. 571)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to review a draft Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP) 2021-2026

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over a meeting to review a draft Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP) 2021-2026.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mr. Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Commerce, Secretary M/O Industries and Production, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary, M/O Industries and Production briefed the participants about the salient features of the draft AIDEP 2021-26. The vision of the Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP) shall be to make Pakistan a hub for competitive manufacturing of autoparts and vehicles for local markets as well as for exports. The key focus is to strengthen the competition within locally manufactured vehicles in order to provide high quality vehicles at affordable prices to the consumers in the country. It also includes increase in export of automobile parts and vehicles to earn a valuable foreign exchange.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the proposed Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP) aims at expansion of auto industry in Pakistan by increasing the production of cars, motorcycles, tractors etc. The top most priority is to ensure consumer welfare through availability of cars at affordable rates for the middle and lower income groups. With this end in view, the Government has provided major relief to the consumers by reducing Sales tax on 850cc cars along with exemption from Value-added tax in the Federal Budget 2021-22. The Ministry of Industries and Production confirmed that prices of vehicles have been reduced commensurate with reduction in taxes and the industry has widely advertised for the information of the general public. The policy would encourage exports of vehicles and automobile parts.

The Finance Minister also underscored the importance of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and affirmed to provide incentives for developing Electric Vehicle market in Pakistan including EV charging infrastructure. The promotion of EVs will reduce dependence on oil import bill and promote environment friendly options. The Finance Minister also stressed to come up with innovative products for provision of car financing at reduced mark-up to consumers so that everyone can afford a car at flexible terms and conditions, he added.

While speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Industries and Production said that new entrants may be encouraged in the auto sector particularly for EVs. This in turn, would encourage auto companies to invest in related infrastructure in Pakistan.

Advisor to Commerce stated that the existing tariff structure needs to be rationalized (in a phased manner) to promote auto industry in Pakistan, keeping in view, the objective of localization i.e. to encourage local auto industry to come-up with high quality vehicles within affordable range.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister emphasised broad-based consultation with key stakeholders on board to come up with an all-encompassing and futuristic auto policy. 

 
July 28, 2021 (PR No. 570)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of Steering Committee and Advisory Board of the Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting of the Steering Committee and Advisory Board of the Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP) through a video-link.

SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Youth Affairs Mr. Usman Dar, Chairman RSPN Mr. Shoaib Sultan, Secretary Finance Division Mr. Yusuf Khan, Executive Director Akhuwat Dr. Amjad Saqib, CEO PMN Mr. Mohsin Ahmed, CEO NRSP Mr. Rashid Bajwa, Chairman HBL Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, President BOP Mr. Zafar Masud, MD Kashaf Foundation Ms. Roshaneh Zafar, Ex-Governor SBP Syed Salim Raza and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The meeting was held to fine-tune the modalities of the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP) scheduled to be launched soon. The Finance Minister welcomed the prominent participants from the private sector and commended their professional expertise in respective fields. He thanked them for their valuable input/suggestions with reference to Kamyab Pakistan Program and reiterated to ensure successful implementation of KPP through a collaborative and cohesive approach.

The Finance Minister further stated that the KPP aims to uplift 4.5 million under-privileged households who are registered with the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) of the Ehsaas program. The KPP is a flagship program which shall extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs, small businessmen and farmers enabling them to access micro credit at 0% mark-up without collateral. The program will enable under-privileged families to break the vicious cycle of poverty, he added.

The Kamyab Pakistan Program is aimed at extending agricultural loans to farmers with landholding up to 12.5 acres under “Kamyab Kissan” scheme. Micro-loans would be extended up to Rs. 150,000 (per crop) for procurement of agricultural inputs. In addition, loans up to Rs. 200,000 would be given for procurement of machinery and equipment.  Another component of the KPP is introduction of a new tier in Naya Pakistan Low Cost Housing Scheme wherein loans of Rs.2.7 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs.2 million (for Non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidized rates.

Similarly, under “Kamyab Karobar”, loans shall be extended for small business and start-ups at 0% mark-up in both urban and rural areas. Dairy, Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries sectors will be included. Loan size is upto Rs. 500,000 for Kamyab Karobar. The cumulative disbursement under the program would be Rs.1.6 trillion over the period of 03 years.

KPP will also integrate with government’s ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training under ‘Kamyab Hunarmand’ scheme.

The Finance Minister appreciated the motivation and commitment of all concerned who are making utmost efforts in designing the whole program and taking it forward towards its formal launch to benefit the marginalized segments of the society.

 
July 28, 2021 (PR No. 569)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet (through a video link) today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms & Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Federal Secretaries, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir joined the meeting through a video link.

The ECC considered a summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce regarding Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2020-25 to enhance export competitiveness of Pakistan through a framework of policy interventions. The proposed STPF 2020-25 also includes a monitoring and implementation mechanism. The underlying rationale is to enhance exports as a national priority through collaborative and cohesive efforts.

While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister directed that the factors related to a market-based realistic exchange rate must be incorporated under the proposed STPF 2020-25. The Finance Minister further stressed to include specific measures for encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and consolidation of fragmented export industry in Pakistan.

After due deliberations, the Committee decided to review the draft STPF 2020-25 after having another consultative meeting with all relevant stakeholders and present an updated policy framework before the next ECC for approval.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) presented a summary regarding intervention price for the cotton crop for FY 2021-22. The ECC had earlier constituted a Committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister for NFS&R, for presenting recommendations to promote cotton production and bring price stability in the domestic market by monitoring local market prices. The ECC deliberated over the recommendations by the Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) and it was decided that another consultative session would be held with all key stakeholders on board including M/O NFS&R, Finance Division and Commerce to finalize the recommendations and present the revised summary before Cabinet.

The Finance Division tabled a summary to carry forward for FY 2021-22, the un-utilized cash component equal to Rs. 352 billion out of the Economic Stimulus Package amounting to Rs. 1240 billion (given in March 2020) to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to support the marginalized sections of the society. The funds were allocated under the Economic Stimulus Package for the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic irrespective of the financial year. Foregoing in view, the ECC re-validated the amount of Rs. 352 billion for the FY 2021-22 for meeting related expenditures including procurement of vaccine for COVID-19 (during the ongoing fourth wave) as the Federal Government aims to vaccinate at least 85 million by December 2021.

 
July 19, 2021 (PR No. 568)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the first meeting of the Capital Market Advisory Council (CMAC)

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the first meeting of the Capital Market Advisory Council (CMAC) held at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Chairman SECP Aamir Khan, Chairman HBL Sultan Ali Allana and other senior officials participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir joined through a video link.

The Capital Market Advisory Council was established (CMAC) in April 2020 under the Capital Market Development Plan (CMDP). In the maiden meeting, the Secretary Finance briefed the members of the Council that the purpose behind the Capital Market Advisory Council (CMAC) was to introduce reforms in the capital markets in the country.  

While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister stated that the establishment of the CMAC was long over-due as Capital markets can improve risk sharing and the efficiency with which capital is allocated to the real economy; thereby boosting economic growth and development. The underlying rationale is to attract investors, especially ones with lesser resources, to contribute in capital markets so that their limited resources are channelized into more productive use. The reforms will be introduced after having input from all the relevant stakeholders, he stressed.

The Finance Minister directed to form a Coordination Committee for smooth implementation of the TORs of CMAC. He further directed to include members from SECP, SBP, Pakistan Banking Council, commercial markets, legal counsel and an expert on Islamic Banking in the Coordination Committee for a comprehensive stakeholder’s feedback. It was also decided that the SECP shall be the secretariat of the Coordination Committee and Chairman SECP shall be the head/secretary of the Coordination Committee. It was agreed that the Coordination Committee shall meet once in every month and send its recommendations for review to the Apex committee of the CMAC that will issue directions to SECP and other relevant stakeholders for final implementation.

 
July 16, 2021 (PR No. 567)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Communication, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Governor SBP, Chairman PTA and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary regarding extension of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020 providing subsidies on five essential commodities from 15th July 2021 to 30th September 2021 till the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system becomes fully operational. Moreover, the ECC also approved the revision in prices of three essential commodities namely Atta (20 kg bag) to Rs. 950, Ghee (per kg) to Rs. 260 and Sugar (per kg) to Rs. 85 respectively, owing to an increasing gap between the subsidized prices offered by USC and the prevailing market prices. The Committee deliberated and approved revision in prices of three essential commodities to rationalize provision of subsidies by the Utility Stores Corporation.

The ECC considered and approved a summary, presented by the M/o Commerce, regarding the elimination of Documents attestation fee for goods imported into Pakistan from Kenya as this Non-Tariff Measure (NTM) increases cost of business and transaction time. The said decision by the Committee would facilitate trade between the two countries and enhance Pakistan’s market share in the region.

The ECC approved a summary tabled by the Power Division regarding non-cash settlement for Power Sector re-lent loans against subsidies payable by Government of Pakistan equal to Rs.116 billion.

The ECC approved “Kamyab Pakistan Program”. A flagship program which shall extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs and farmers under “Kamyab Karobar” and “Kamyab Kissan” schemes respectively. The program shall also provide low cost housing loans through NAPHDA. The Kamyab Pakistan Program also includes ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training under the title “Kamyab Hunarmand”.

The Kamyab Pakistan Program is aimed at extending loans to 04 million households at the lowest strata, as registered with the National Socio Economic Registry (NSER) of Ehsaas. Loans worth Rs.0.5 million, Rs.0.150 million and Rs.0.2 million through Micro-Finance Providers for Kamyab Karobar and Kamyab Kissan at 0% mark up will be provided.  The third component of the scheme is introduction of a new tier in Naya Pakistan Low Cost Housing Scheme wherein loans of Rs.2.7 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs.2 million (for Non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidized rates.

   The salient features of the Kamyab Pakistan Program include loan size of Rs.150,000 (per crop) for purchase of agricultural inputs. The commutative disbursement under the program would be Rs.1.6 billion over the period of 03 years. It shall benefit 30,00,000 families.

The ECC commended all concerned for working out such a detailed program aimed at “bottom-up approach” for reducing poverty as envisaged by the Prime Minister. The Finance Minister stated that the consultative process was followed in working out modalities of the Kamyab Pakistan Program ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are on board and micro-loans shall be disbursed as per the given criteria.

The ECC also considered and approved the Draft Policy Directives related to Auction of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) as submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication before the Committee. This is the first time that the NGMS will be auctioned in AJK and it will improve mobile broadband services in the region. Moreover, ECC also decided that for the payment of the Auctioned licence fee, the method in-vogue in the earlier auction processes will be followed.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented a summary regarding award of Engineering Consultancy Service contract for up-gradation of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) amounting to Rs.86.6 million. The ECC approved the execution of the project.

ECC allowed Post Qasim Authority, Karachi Port Trust and Gwadar Port Authority Boards to transfer their Marine assets to the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company Private Limited (PMSSC), a subsidiary of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. The maximum rates to be charged by the Pakistan Marine & Shipping Services Company (PMSSC) from the Public Sector ports & harbours shall be determined from time to time by Ministry of Maritime Affairs through a notification in official gazette.

 The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (M/o NFS&R) presented a summary regarding procurement of  200,000 cotton bales by TCP to promote cotton production and bring stability in the domestic market. The ECC also approved formation of Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) with a mandate to review market price and propose intervention at fortnightly basis.

The ECC also approved a summary by the M/o Industries and Production for importing 200,000 metric tons of sugar to build strategic reserves and minimize the role of speculative elements in the domestic market. In case of need more reserves will be built through import, the ECC decided.

ECC approved the amendment in its earlier decision dated 19-02-2021 regarding the “Prime Minister’s” fiscal package for Agriculture in the wake of COVID-19 Kharif”. The package offered subsidy on DAP@1500Rs/acre for cotton and rice crops, during the Kharif Season 2021. Now according to the amendment, the farmers can avail subsidy on any phosphatic fertilizer according to their choice.

 
July 15, 2021 (PR No. 566)

Minister for Finance and Revenue met with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema at the Finance Division. During the meeting, the overall situation regarding availability of essential food items was discussed.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government to provide essential food items at affordable prices to the consumers throughout the country. He also underscored the importance of building strategic reserves of key commodities namely wheat, sugar, pulses, ghee, tomatoes, onions and potatoes is order to eliminate undue profit margins and to stabilize prices of the items of daily use.

The “Agriculture Transformation Plan” was also discussed which is being introduced to shift conventional agriculture to the next level i.e. commercial agriculture aimed at boosting agricultural productivity in the country.

The SAPM outlined that Agriculture Transformation Plan will promote agri-business, attract investment from private sector, reduce post-harvest losses, add value to local agricultural produce, develops rural infrastructure and enhance access to micro credit for farmers.

The Finance Minister stressed the need to involve all the relevant stakeholders for successful implementation of the proposed Agriculture Transformation Plan. He also assured his full support and facilitation on the occasion.

The Finance Minister also desired to utilize expertise of SAPM on Food Security to effectively control the prices of essential food items on regular basis to provide maximum relief to general public.
 
July 14, 2021 (PR No. 565)

Ambassador of Japan called on Minister for Finance and Revenue

His Excellency, Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, the Ambassador of Japan called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, ShaukatTarin here at the Finance Division. SA PM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood was also present during the meeting.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Kuninori Matsuda, the Ambassador of Japan, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan and Japan enjoy sound friendly relations since 1952 which have been getting stronger with each passing day. The Finance Minister lauded the cooperation extended by the Government of Japan to Pakistan in the fields of Education and Infrastructure development. He said that Japan is one of the major development partners of Pakistan and he firmly believes that the cooperation will further strengthen in multiple fields for the mutual benefit of both the countries. The Ambassador congratulated the Finance Minister on assuming his responsibilities on behalf of the Finance Minister of Japan Mr. Taro Aso.

The Finance Minister and the Ambassador discussed issues of mutual interest. The Finance Minister gave a brief overview of the economy to the Ambassador. 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 entire spectrum of business and investment relations and identified areas for further strengthening and expanding economic cooperation.

The Ambassador informed the Finance Minister that Japan was now embarking on a project of Human Resource exchange with Pakistan under which the Japanese labour market will be opened for highly skilled Pakistanis. He said this will provide job opportunities in Japan to Pakistanis, especially in the areas of Information Technology and Science & Technology. The Finance Minister highly appreciated and welcomed the Japanese initiative and suggested strong and close Japanese collaboration with the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis as well as Overseas Employment Corporation.

The Ambassador further apprised the Finance Minister that Japan was focusing on developing a strong export base in Pakistan. For the purpose, Japan was looking beyond the traditional sectors of textiles and automobiles. Japan saw opportunities of investing in food processing, fishing and agriculture. Finance Minister welcomed the Japanese initiatives and assured of Government’s fullest support for the purpose. He opined that goods manufactured in SEZs should be exported.

The Minister also touched upon the new Auto policy which has offered incentives to the new investors and will have a far reaching impact on the development of the auto industry in Pakistan. The Finance Minister stated that with the introduction of the new Auto Policy Japan has the opportunity to further its investments in the sector which in turn will be beneficial for both the countries. He said that he wants that Pakistan may be able to generate exportable surplus in spare parts, so new investment will prove to be lucrative for both countries. The Ambassador praised the new Auto policy and stated that the Japanese businesses were encouraged by the incentives provided under the policy. Finance Minister invited the Japanese firms to start exporting automobiles from Pakistan.

The Finance Minister also thanked the Japanese Government for debt relief under the second phase of G-20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). He assured the Ambassador of his full support in improving the trade and economic relations between the countries.

The Ambassador thanked the Finance Minister for his support.
 
July 13, 2021 (PR No. 564)

Ambassador of the People's Republic of China called on Minister for Finance and Revenue

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China H.E. Nong Rong called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance Division were also present during in the meeting.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Nong Rong, the Finance Minister stated that China-Pakistan bilateral relationship is an epitome of enduring friendship and brotherhood. CPEC has ushered a new era of economic prosperity and is of utmost importance for Pakistan. CPEC will generate abundant employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan and beyond, he added.

The Finance Minister commended that Joint Corporation Committee (JCC) has been activated. Working groups have been formed under the umbrella of JCC which would focus on different areas including planning, energy, industrial cooperation, infrastructure, communication, agriculture and overall socio-economic development. The focal persons of each working group would remain in regular contact.

The Finance Minister applauded the Chinese model of farming and stated that Pakistan could learn from China for enhancing agricultural productivity in the country. H.E. Ambassador welcomed the suggestion and assured of his country’s full cooperation in imparting technical know-how and practical orientation to Pakistani counterparts in this regard.

In his remarks, H.E. Chinese Ambassador said that China is committed to develop the CPEC projects under the vision of shared prosperity and it will further strengthen and expand economic cooperation between both the countries.

Both sides underscored the importance of expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for creating abundant investment and employment opportunities in identified areas.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister affirmed full support and cooperation to Chinese investors and businessmen.
 
July 13, 2021 (PR No. 563)

Minister for Finance and Revenue met with SA to PM on Reconciliation and Harmony in Balochistan

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Reconciliation and Harmony in Balochistan Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti at the Finance Division today.

While extending a warm welcome to the SAPM on Reconciliation and Harmony, the Finance Minister stated that the development of Balochistan is the top priority of the Government and its working to provide better employment opportunities for the youth of the province.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has renewed focus on the socio-economic development of the Balochistan Province. The Government has initiated mega projects in road and irrigation infrastructure, education and health facilities, agricultural and industrial development to ensure provision of facilities in the Province.

The Finance Minister assured full support and cooperation in every possible way for the progress and development of Balochistan on the occasion.
 
July 12, 2021 (PR No. 562)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, Secretary M/o National Food Security & Research, Chairman FBR, Provincial Chief Secretaries, MD PASSCO, MD Utility Store Corporation, Chairman CCP, Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad and other senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about a slight increase of 0.07% in weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI) indicating price stability as compared to the previous weeks. The NPMC also reviewed the year-on-year weekly inflation. It is pertinent to mention that the year-on-year weekly inflation is coming down for the last two months from a high of 17.23% on 20 May 2021 to 12.28% on 08 July 2021, which is a significant decline in SPI. Similarly, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (as released on 01 July 2021) showed an annual inflation at national level at 8.9% which was down from 10.74% a year ago, while urban and rural inflation were at 8.15% and 10.05% as compared to 10.17% and 11.63% respectively. Clearly, the inflation is coming down across all measures.

While reviewing the Year-on-Year and Week-on-Week inflation trends, the Finance Minister urged the respective District Administrations and departments concerned to take stern administrative measures to keep the prices of essential items including vegetables in check on the occasion of upcoming Eid-ul-Adha to eliminate undue profiteering.

The Finance Minister constituted a working group under the umbrella of NPMC comprising of Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Finance Division and representatives of PBS, M/o NFS&R and other relevant departments to workout measures for bringing price stability in basic commodities by using mystery shopping exercise and building strategic reserves of key commodities namely wheat, sugar, pulses, ghee, tomatoes, onions and potatoes in order to eliminate undue profit margins and ensure availability of items of daily use at affordable prices across the country.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed PBS to present a detailed variance analysis vis-a-vis weekly SPI highlighting food prices prevailing across mainstream cities/districts for real-time comparison. The data would be used by the respective Provincial administrations and departments concerned to ensure that notified rates are being followed across the board. This will minimize price differential between farm gate prices and retail rates.

Secretary, M/o Industries and Production briefed the NPMC about the international price trend of edible oil. After increase in prices of Soya bean and Palm Oils, at present the international prices have registered a decline. The  Finance Minister directed the Ministry of Industries and Production, the Competition  Commission of Pakistan(CCP) and FBR to take requisite actions to ensure that current decline in the international prices of edible oil is passed on to the domestic consumers soon. On the occasion, the Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan briefed the Committee that CCP has undertaken an inquiry in the edible oil and ghee sector to ascertain information and cross check facts regarding alleged collective price-fixing of retail prices of various products of cooking oil and ghee for different market segments.

The Finance Minister directed the Chairperson, CCP to expedite inquiry and follow due course of action to put an end to anti-competitive activities. No cartelization will be allowed at any cost and strict action will be taken against hoarding and undue profiteering, he affirmed.

The CCP also shared findings about presence of 4000 Artis across 36 districts in Punjab dealing with the prices of basic vegetables. After reviewing the findings of the CCP, the Finance Minister directed to build a model/frame work in which DCs/ACs are assigned to monitor a specific number of Artis (middlemen) to eliminate price manoeuvring. Such model can be replicated in other Provinces to minimize the price differential across the whole chain i.e. from farm gate to retail prices of basic commodities.

The Finance Minister also constituted a Committee comprising of Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Finance, Secretary NFS&R, Chairperson CCP and representative of PBS to formulate an action plan and hold all those accountable who are involved in price-fixation and anti-competitive activities after fulfilling all codal formalities.

The Secretary, M/o NFS&R apprised the NPMC that sufficient stocks of wheat are available in the country. He also informed that arrangements are underway for importing wheat for building strategic reserves (as approved by ECC) and the whole process would be completed soon.

Likewise, the Secretary, M/o Industries and Production also updated NPMC that arrangements have been made to import one lac ton of sugar by 15th August 2021. The Finance Minister directed to procure another 100,000 ton of sugar in due course of time to ensure strategic reserves of key commodities for price stability.

The Secretary Industries and Production further apprised that sufficient reserves of sugar will be available till the arrival of the new sugarcane crop.

 
July 12, 2021 (PR No. 561)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the steering committee meeting

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a steering committee meeting to review progress on broadening of tax base and integration of retailers into Point of Sales (POS) system by FBR.

In the beginning, Member (IT), FBR briefed the participants about operational Terms of Reference (TORs) for integration of retailers into the POS system. The TORs have been formulated in consultation with key stakeholders including representatives from the private sector to have a proper system of check and balance in place, he added.

While reviewing the progress of the Steering Committee, the Finance Minister stated that limited tax base is one of the key challenges and the Government is firmly committed to expand the tax base to enhance revenues exponentially. He commended the efforts made by the members of the steering committee on the occasion.

The Finance Minister further stated that the Government has incentivized the retailers by giving tax credit on electronic cash registers during the new Budget 2021-22. The underlying rationale is to give incentives to the tax payers in order to broaden the tax base and at the same time, reiterated to take stern action against tax evaders who are not willing to be part of the tax net.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister urged FBR to strictly adhere to timelines & benchmarks and follow-up the whole exercise for broadening tax base on regular basis. The way forward requires use of new technologies, analytical tools and end-to-end automation to broaden the tax base by integrating all the chains/outlets into MIS system by FBR. The Minister further directed to gather data by undertaking interim measures such as Mystery Shopping exercise to identify anomalies as well as adding new entrants into the system to yield efficient results.

 
July 03, 2021 (PR No. 560)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of Economic Advisory Council (EAC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the third meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) held at Finance Division today. 

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stressed the importance of longterm planning for achieving sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth. Prime Minister has re-constituted EAC, after decades, with an objective to draw up concrete proposals for sustainable economic growth through comprehensive and seamless planning across major sectors  by taking all stakeholders on board. The underlying rationale is to secure the future of coming generations in the country, the Finance Minister added.

The Third meeting of Economic Advisory Council, chaired by the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, was attended by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro and Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imaam. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance & Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance, Secretary Privatization and Deputy Governor SBP also attended the meeting. Private members Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, Mr. Farooq Rehmatullah and Mr. Zaid Bashir also participated in the meeting and shared valuable input.

During the third meeting of Economic Advisory Council (EAC), four sub-groups made respective presentations. The sub-groups gave their presentations on topics namely SOEs & Privatization, Energy, Domestic Commerce and Price Stability.

SAPM on Finance & Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood Khan gave a detailed presentation on Price Stability which included short term, medium term and long term proposals for bringing price stability in the country. The SAPM on F&R drew a comparative analysis between prices prevailing in Pakistan and also in the entire region both in current and historical perspectives. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and Federal Minister for Industries for Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar also gave their valuable input on the topic.

Mr. Farooq Rehmatullah gave presentation on Energy (Power) sector. The Presentation highlighted global, regional and local trends in the refining sectors. The presentation also included recommendations for bringing in sustainable solutions to streamline operations from oil downstream to marketing sectors. Mr. Farooq Rehmatullah, during his presentation, gave suggestions to deal with the challenges faced by LPG, exploration & production sectors and to explore renewable energy resources in Pakistan. 

Mr. Sultan Ali Allana made a presentation on State Owned Enterprises ( SOEs). The Secretary Privatization updated the EAC on Privatization. The presentation emphasized the importance of continued review of SOEs portfolio and also highlighted steps for better management of SOEs. The presentation included short term, medium term and long term strategies for better management of the State Owned enterprises (in phases). The presentation further included measures to speed up the privatization process in a smooth and timely manner.

Mr. Zaid Bashir made a presentation on Domestic Commerce Sector. The presentation underlined to enrich and revive the documented/integrated sectors and fully realize the true potential of e-commerce during the short term by bringing retailers into a more organized environment ultimately increasing contribution to the National exchequer. Tax credit on enlistment of companies and to incentivize the induction of women in workforce were suggested as part of medium term plans whereas financing facility for growth of the retailers and tax adjustability were suggested as part of a long term strategy for promoting domestic commerce sector in the country.

All the participants held an in-depth discussion on proposals presented during the meeting and shared their valuable input. A follow-up session would be held soon.

 
July 01, 2021 (PR No. 559)

Ambassador of United Arab Emirates to Pakistan called on Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

His Excellency Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim Alzaabi, Ambassador of United Arab Emirates to Pakistan called on Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin at Finance Division on Thursday.

His Excellency Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim Alzaabi, Ambassador of United Arab Emirates and Federal Minister for Finance Mr. Shaukat Tarin discussed the various aspects of bilateral relations. Both the dignitaries expressed their satisfaction over the current status of the strong ties between the two countries and pledged to further cement the mutual relationship.

His Excellency Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim Alzaabi and Mr. Shaukat Tarin further agreed that the ties between the two countries are based on strong foundations of religious brotherhood and cultural homogeneity. The bilateral ties have become strategic with the passage of time. The emerging challenges at the world stage have further necessitated the even closer working relationship between the two countries.

 
June 30, 2021 (PR No. 558)

Petroleum Prices

In order to provide maximum relief to the consumers, the government has maintained the practice of keeping the prices of petroleum products at an affordable level. OGRA has been recommending substantial increase in the prices of Petroleum products since 1st May 2021, corresponding to the increase in prices of the petroleum products in the International markets. However, keeping in view the welfare of the general public, the government has absorbed the impact of the increase by making adjustments in sales tax and petroleum levy. Currently, the petroleum levy rates are at the lowest of last six years. During the financial year 2020-21, the government has provided Rs. 252.41 billion subsidy to the consumers by keeping low the petroleum levy rates against the budgeted Rs. 30/liter on all products.

It is also worth mentioning that as compared to our regional neighbours, Government of Pakistan is providing Petrol and Diesel at the lowest level rates. On 28th June 2021, following were the prices of petroleum products in other countries of the region:


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

Product

Existing Prices
w.e.f 16-06-2021

New Prices
w.e.f. 01-07-2021

Increase (+) /
Decrease (-)

MS (Petrol)

110.69

112.69

+2.00

High Speed Diesel (HSD)

112.55

113.99

+1.44

Kerosene (SKO)

81.89

85.75

+3.86

Light Diesel Oil

79.68

83.40

+3.72

 
June 28, 2021 (PR No. 557)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin chaired a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday. Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Power / Energy Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on F&R, Federal Secretaries and relevant officers of concerned Divisions and Departments attended the meeting.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet during its meeting held on Monday approved a summary by Industries and Production Division for approval of tender opened on 25-06-2021 for import of 100,000 metric tons of Sugar. Regarding the proposal for Intervention Price for Cotton 2021-2022 Crop by National Food and Research Division, The ECC constituted a committee to submit its report within 15 days. The ECC on a summary by Maritime Affairs Division directed Petroleum Division, Finance Division and PSO to provide a timeframe for payment of the outstanding dues to PNSC. On a summary about extension of general subsidy on five essential items through Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan from 1st July, the ECC allowed extension in subsidies for fifteen days from 1st July and constituted a committee to work out future course of action within 15 days. The ECC on a summary by Power Division about payment of outstanding amount of net hydel profits – Power Division and Finance Division to come up with a possible solution/option for raising up required financing by WAPDA, within two weeks. 

The ECC approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 10 million for Aviation Division and Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 73.870 millions in favour of NSSP, Lahore. Similarly the ECC approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 20.70 millions for Pakistan Academy for Rural Development, Peshawar and Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 1.00 billion for payment of Disparity Reduction Allowance to concerned offices. The ECC approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 16.706 millions  for Inter Provincial Coordination Division for payment to Federal Land Commission and approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 1012.176 millions for Interior Division for Frontier Corps Balochistan (South).The ECC further approved Technical Supplementary Grant Rs. 1.6 billions for Department of Immigration and Passports ,Ministry of Interior and Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 456.641 millions for Federal board of Revenue to pay off the pending liabilities of the project titled “Development of Integrated Transit Trade Management System”.  The ECC approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs.2.0 billions for Foreign Affairs Division and Supplementary Grant of Rs. 8.0 billions for Textile Wing of Commerce Division. The ECC further approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 5800.00 millions for utilization of foreign aid of NDRMF projects, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms.

 
June 28, 2021 (PR No. 556)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting on Kamyaab Pakistan Programme

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin chaired a meeting about Kamyaab Pakistan Programme at Finance Division on Monday. SAPM on F&R, SAPM on Youth Affairs Mr. Usman Dar, Secretary Finance, Chairman NAPHDA, President the Bank of Punjab, Chairman HBL, Executive Director Akhuwat and SEVP National Bank of Pakistan attended the meeting.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin during the meeting said that the Prime Minister has a vision to transform Pakistan into a truly welfare state. The Prime Minister aspires to uplift living standards of the under privileged people in the country. To achieve this objective the government is following a multi pronged strategy. The deserving people of the country are being supported through cash transfer program. The Prime Minister wants a multitude of new opportunities for the fellow countrymen particularly the youth through a new platform. Kamyab Pakistan Programme is being launched to achieve this objective. Small Loans for business, farmers and households, health cards and technical training would be included under the program.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin during the meeting further said that all stakeholders including banks and NGOs should rise to the occasion, gear themselves up for the task and take part in a new nation building activity under umbrella of Kamyab Pakistan Programme. The Kamyab Pakistan Programme will prove to be a milestone in bringing prosperity in the country as the entrepreneurs and the farmers will directly benefit out of it.

The participants of the meeting assured the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue of their full cooperation and participation.

 
June 23, 2021 (PR No. 555)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Tabish Gauhar. Besides them Secretary Finance, Secretary National Food Security, Secretary Privatization Commission, Secretary Petroleum Division, Secretary Industries and Production, Secretary Interior and other relevant officials also attended the meeting.

The ECC approved the Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 300 million for allocation from PSDP for establishment of Joint Border Markets at Mand District Kech, Gabd District Gwadar and Chedgi, District Panjgur against Rs. 100 millions each. The ECC further approved technical supplementary grant for Covid-19 Response and Other Natural Calamities Control Programme (Sindh Component) worth Rs.9393.226 millions.

The ECC during its meeting held on Wednesday approved technical Supplementary grant of Rs.98.700 millions to meet the requirements of Frontier Corps KP (South), D.I.Khan under Interior Division. The ECC further approved technical supplementary grant of Rs. 25 millions for Headquarters Pakistan Rangers Islamabad under Interior Division.   The ECC approved technical supplementary grant amounting to Rs. 39.058 millions to Pakistan Institute of Development Economics for payment of salaries as well.
 
June 23, 2021 (PR No. 554)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of CCOP

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Secretary Privatization Commission, Secretary Petroleum Division, Secretary Industries and Production and other relevant officials attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed the proposal for divestment of Government of Pakistan’s shares in Mari Petroleum Company Limited. After a comprehensive deliberations, the chair directed Privatization Commission and Ministry of Petroleum to further examine the issue in light of today’s discussion and come up with a comprehensive proposals during the next CCOP meeting. The meeting discussed the proposal for privatization of Services International Hotel and after thorough debate approved the revised reserve price subject to further approval by the Federal Cabinet.

The Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) examined the proposal for removal of Pakistan Engineering Company (PECO) from active privatization list. CCOP directed constitution of a committee consisting of representatives of Privatization Commission, Law Division, Establishment Division, Industries and Production Division, Finance Division and SECP to thoroughly analyze the case and come up with its proposals on issues highlighted in the meeting.
 
June 22, 2021 (PR No. 553)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting on Draft Pakistan Oil Refining Policy 2021

A meeting to review progress on Draft Pakistan Oil Refining Policy 2021 was held at Ministry of Finance on Tuesday. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukt Tarin chaired the meeting. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Power, SAPM on F&R, SAPM on Power, Secretary Finance, Secretary Petroleum, DG Oil and representatives of oil refineries.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin during the meeting said that the Prime Minister is very keen about progress in all sectors of the economy for sustainable growth. Energy sector is indeed very crucial to keep the cycle of economy moving with ever growing momentum. Oil refineries in Pakistan have been pillar of energy security of the country and now the government wants the domestic oil refineries to upgrade themselves at par with international standards. Modernization, efficiency and environment friendliness should be common characteristics of all oil refineries in Pakistan. Government of Pakistan is willing to extend all support permitted under law and policy framework to this effect.

The representatives of oil refineries said that the oil refinery industry is very happy due to support and patronage provided by the government. They added that the entire oil refinery sector is ready to upgrade itself to international standards and a complete framework is ready in this regard. With the approval of new Oil Refining Policy, the journey towards international standards will start.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue directed the participants to work jointly to overcome all the hurdles in the formulation of new Oil Refining Policy 2021 so that same may come into effect at the earliest.
 
June 21, 2021 (PR No. 552)

Ambassador of the People's Republic of China called on Minister for Finance and Revenue

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China H.E. Nong Rong called on Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue Mr. Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin here on Monday at Ministry of Finance. Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue while extending a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Nong Rong stated that Pakistan and China enjoy long-term, broad based and multi-dimensional relationship.

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue expressed the commitment of the present government to further strengthen economic relations with China. He briefed the Chinese Ambassador about the measures introduced in the recent budget for ensuring inclusive and sustained economic growth in the country. Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue expressed hope that not only Chinese government but the Chinese entrepreneurs would also like to enhance their investment in the field of finance, industry and agriculture development of Pakistan. Finance Minister and Chinese Ambassador both agreed to take the bilateral relations of both countries to next level in order to ensure sustained economic growth. Federal Minister for Finance briefed the Chines Ambassador that increase in exports was the top most priority of the Government. He particularly referred to the budget proposals which would specifically promote exports in the long run and usher in growth in the economy.

His Excellency Nong Rong informed about the progress of Chinese investments in CPEC related projects. He expressed the desire of the present Chinese Government to invest more in all sectors to lift the economic standing of Pakistan. He re-affirmed the commitment of Chinese Government to overcome any obstacle in deepening the bilateral ties between the two countries. Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue conveyed full assurance on behalf of the Government of Pakistan to extend complete support in enhancing the level of economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries. He stated that Government of Pakistan would provide full facilitation to the Chinese companies in Pakistan to ensure long term and sustainable foreign investment in the country, which would lead to economic growth, peace and prosperity for Pakistan. Minister for Finance & Revenue stressed upon the need for economic uplift of the entire region and emphasized that Pakistan is willing to play its role in this endeavor. Both sides agreed to hold regular review meetings to ensure fast track implementation of ongoing projects.
 
June 21, 2021 (PR No. 551)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. ShaukatTarin presided over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Additional Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Commerce, Additional Secretary M/o PD&SI, Member PBS, Commissioner Islamabad, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary Finance briefed the meeting and informed that the weekly SPI increased by 0.28 percent for the week ended on 17th June, 2021 after a three weeks consecutive decline. Prices of 09 items declined, 21 items slightly increased and 21 items remained stable. He apprised the movement of essential items during last six weeks as well as price comparison among the provinces and ICT. The Chair noted that prices in ICT are declining in most of the items and appreciated the efforts of ICT administration. He directed the provincial governments must also mobilise their teams in order to provide relief to common man by strict monitoring of prices.

The Chair highlighted the issue with Ministry of Industries & Production regarding prices of palm oil and soyabean are on declining trend in the international market but its impact on the domestic market so far has not been observed. The Chair directed M/o Industries & Production to hold a meeting with ghee/edible oil manufacturers in order to transmit the declining trend of international oil prices to the local consumers. The government will take strict action if any obstacle is observed anywhere in the country.

MD USC informed the forum that they are working on national plan of extending number of USC outlets all over the country.The Chair directed MD USC, in consultation with government of Balochistan, to work out detailed plan of establishing USC outlets across Balochistan at the spots where maximum consumers may benefit by the essential items at subsidized rates.

M/o NFS&R gave detailed presentation regarding the production cycle of perishable items like tomatoes, potatoes and onions along with pulses.In case of pulses, two third of the demand is being fulfilled through imports thus there is need to build strategic reserves to ensure smooth supply, achieve price stability and reduce international dependence.  M/o NFS&R was directed to prepare emergency plan for establishing cold storages and warehouses in key areas where perishable food items are produced and also explore feasible options of collaboration of Public Private Partnership model in this regard. 

Chief Secretary KP briefed the meeting about the value chain analysis of essential items. The Chair noted that there is huge margin of profit being earned by the wholesalers who purchase from the farmers. The Chair directed provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan to present the value chain analysis of essential items in the upcoming NPMC and corrective measures to ease out price hike.

The Finance Minister was briefed that as per international commodities' prices comparison published by the World Bank the international price of sugar has increased by 58.3% (Year-on-Year). Similarly, the international price of Soyabean oil increased to whopping 119.20% in Year-on-Year comparison whereas increased by 23.5% during the last month (April-May 2021).  The COVID-19 crisis has played havoc with international supply chain scenario and fueled food inflation all over the globe.

Furthermore, the international price trend in Palm oil indicate an increase of 102.6% (Year-on-Year) and 7.9% during the last month.

Going by the aforesaid international trend, the domestic price hike couldn't be avoided as Pakistan is the net importer of staple food commodities like Wheat, Sugar, Edible oil, pulses etc. During these testing times, the Government has taken all possible measures to provide maximum relief to the masses during pandemic-induced global food inflation crisis.

The Finance Minister further directed to workout modalities to maintain strategic reserves of sugar and wheat to ensure smooth supply at affordable prices during the upcoming financial year. The Finance Minister directed to initiate international procurement drive of wheat and sugar through public, private and G2G arrangements.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stressed that Government is fully cognizant of its responsibility regarding provision of essential items at affordable prices across the board. Keeping in view the fact that Pakistan is a net importer of food, the Government has taken all out measures to provide essential items through a network of Sahulat/SaastaBaazars, hefty subsidies through chain of Utility Stores outlets under Ramadan Package and is taking strict administrative measures to keep prices of basic items in check.
 
June 21, 2021 (PR No. 550)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Cabinet Division.

Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister on Energy Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SA to PM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Federal Secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting.

ECC approved the request of the Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division regarding Indexation Policy for Cash Transfer and allowed BISP to adopt the institutional mechanism for periodic update of regular cash transfer benefits to Ehsaas Kafalat Beneficiaries of Benazir Income Support Program. The beneficiaries would receive an additional cash of Rs. 166 per month due to indexation. The mechanism shall consist of a Committee which will be chaired by Secretary Finance Division. The other members of the Committee would be Additional Finance Secretary, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Economic Advisor Finance Division, and one co-opted member for independent technical advice.

The terms of reference of the Committee would be to consider and recommend any update/adjustment of regular cash benefits of BISP i.e. Ehsaas Kafalat Programme for inflationary reasons within a period of three years from last enhancement to the Federal Cabinet for approval. The Committee would also consider and approve any update/adjustment of cash transfers under BISP Programmes other than Ehsaas Kafalat Programme.

ECC approved the enhancement of Ehsaas Kifalat monthly stipend to the tune of Rs. 166 per beneficiary w.e.f. 1s January, 2022.

ECC also approved the additional funds requirement of Rs. 75 million of Ministry of Housing and Works in respect of three development schemes. Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs. 43 million in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works was also approved.

ECC in its meeting allowed Information and Broadcasting Division for re-appropriation of PSDP funds of Rs. 17.633 million through Technical Supplementary Grant. Interior Ministry’s request of Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 30 million was also approved. Similarly, Technical Supplementary Grant request of Ministry of Narcotics Control for Rs. 5 million, Science & Technology for Rs. 317 million and Establishment Division for Rs. 54 million was approved in the ECC Meeting. Arrears of contribution amounting to Rs. 3369.62 million on account of Group Insurance Fund by the Finance Division on behalf of the Federal Government Non-Gazetted (BS 1 to BS ) employees was also approved in the meeting.
 
June 18, 2021 (PR No. 549)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to review the COVID-19 Vaccine availability situation in the country

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a special meeting with the Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan to review the COVID-19 Vaccine availability situation in the country.

Minister Planning, in his position as Chairman NCOC, briefed the meeting that the NCOC forum reviews the situation on weekly basis and makes all possible efforts in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders that the vaccine supply chain is not disrupted. He said that almost every country is securing its supplies in advance which builds a pressure to make immediate payments.

The Finance Minister was also briefed by EAD on the availability of credit lines with our development partners for vaccine procurement.

The Finance Minister said that providing safety to our citizens through the timely vaccine procurement is foremost priority of the government. He directed EAD to start the process of availing the credit lines with our development partners for ensuring timely payments to the vendors as no compromise will be made on the health of the Pakistanis. The Finance Minister also directed Finance Division to ensure timely disbursement of funds as per supplies schedules.
 
June 18, 2021 (PR No. 548)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting on new Auto-Policy

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review and finalize the new Auto-Policy. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood also participated in the meeting along with Senior Officials from Industries and Production, Commerce and FBR.

The Minister for Industries and Production briefed the meeting that the aim to introduce a new policy is to provide affordable small cars (850 cc-1000 cc), promote localization in domestically assembled cars, produce exportable surplus of auto-parts of 2-3 wheelers and increase the competition in the local market so that people in Pakistan could enjoy better technology at affordable prices. The Minister for Industries also discussed various concessions that could be offered to the Electric Vehicles to increase the number of vehicles imported and install the related infrastructure in Pakistan.

Other pending issues like the payment of ACD by the Auto-sector to the Government also came under discussion. The Industry representatives agreed to resolve the issue amicably for its final settlement.

The Finance Minister assured of his full support for the final launch of the New-Auto Policy.
 
June 17, 2021 (PR No. 547)

Governor State Bank called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir, called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, here at the Finance Division.

The Governor updated the Finance Minister on the progress of different policy initiatives that are designed for the uplift of the rural and urban youth. The Governor briefly touched upon the simplification of regulation the Central Bank has proposed to keep pace with the fast-changing financial landscape of the country. He said that the Central Bank is fully committed to assist the process of economic growth and promote the fuller utilisation of the country’s resources in line with the objectives of the present government.

The Finance Minister assured the Governor of his full support in all those efforts that will promote the banking sector outreach in the country, mobilization of resources, growth, development and job creation.
 

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

June 16, 2021 (PR No. 546)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Sawati, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, 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 Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, concerned Federal Secretaries and senior officers participated in the meeting.

ECC approved the request of Ministry of National Food Security and Research for the provision of 500,000MT of wheat to the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa out of PASSCO stock during the crop year 2021-22 on the usual terms and conditions. All charges, including incidental charges will be borne by the Food Department, KP. Similarly, 500,000MT imported wheat was also allocated to Food Department, KP to meet the provincial requirement.

ECC approved the “Policy for Regulation of NGOs/NPOs receiving Foreign Contributions-2021”. The NGO Policy, 2021 has been designed with the aim to fostering a sense of partnership between government and non-government sectors. Furthermore, under the new policy approval process (for registration) will be completed within 60 days, maximum, through online submission of application and consultation, doing away with manual processing and eliminating long delays. The new policy seeks to expand space for credible organizations for a playing an effective role in socio-economic development while detering NGOs with dubious credentials.

ECC appreciated the efforts of Economic Affairs Division for designing the much needed policy and directed that any further suggestions/positive feed back from all the relevant stakeholders may also be incorporated in the policy and a report on the same may be shared with the forum in 4-8 weeks.

ECC approved the summary of Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for allowing operational losses upto a maximum of 0.5% for gasoline transportation through WOP & MFM pipelines through Inland Freight Equalization Margin (IFEM). The same will be adjusted against actual based on physical inventory of pipelines to be undertaken periodically. The actual rate will be determined by OGRA based on actual losses and excess margin would be brought before ECC.

ECC also approved the request of Ministry of National Food Security & Research for import of 3MMT of wheat subject to approval by PPRA Board for building up the strategic reverses of wheat in the country.

ECC approved US$ 17.3m for PIA-IL for payment of recurring as well as one-off liabilities in respect of Roosevelt Hotel New York, USA, as verified by the Auditor and recommended by PIA-IL Board. ECC also directed that Finance, Privatization Commission, PIA/Aviation Division should consult with each other and propose a strategy in a month’s time for deciding the future of the asset.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants were approved by the ECC:

i)                   Rs. 1.370 billion for the Finance Division to provide wheat subsidy to the Government of Gilgit Baltistan.

ii)                Rs. 32.097 million for the Ministry of Industries and Production to meet the expenditure of its various Organizations.

iii)              Rs. 1.6 billion for the Ministry of Industries and Production for clearing the bill of SNGPL for the month of May 2021.

iv)              Rs. 274.161 million for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to meet the shortage of budget of PTV Multan, AJK, English News Channel and APPC.

v)                 Rs. 570 million for the Ministry of Interior for Security enhancement at Pakistan-Afghanistan Border.

vi)              Rs. 56.341 million for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for its various miscellaneous expenditure.

vii)            Rs. 145 million for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority to meet its various employee related expenses.

viii)         Rs. 2.467 billion for Revenue Division for meeting the requirements of Pakistan Raises Revenue Program.

ix)              Rs. 834 million for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to meet its employee related expenditure.

x)                 Rs.49 billion for Karachi Coastal Power Project Unit 1 & 2 as requested by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

 

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting with a representative of FMPAC

June 14, 2021 (PR No. 545)

Development and promotion of agriculture sector is the top most priority of the government. Prosperous farmer is vital for prosperity of the country. The Prime Minister is very keen about the farmers and agriculture sector. The government will address all the issues of farmers and of sectors attached to agriculture. Fertilizers are back bone of the agriculture and have direct impact on prosperity of the farmers. Issues related to fertilizer sector therefore will be addressed with preference. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin expressed these views during a meeting with a representative delegation of Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) lead by Lt. General (Retired) Triq Khan. SAPM Finance and Revenue, Chairman FBR and other relevant officers attended the meeting.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tareen listened the issues being faced by the Fertilizer sector and directed SAPM (F&R) and Chairman FBR to have separate meeting with representatives of the fertilizer sector and come up with their solutions.

 

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

June 14, 2021 (PR No. 544)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin presided over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division today. He briefed the participants of the meeting that Prime Minister is determined to bring ease in the lives of the poor in Pakistan. A multi-pronged approach is being followed for this purpose. Different schemes and incentives have been rolled out and many more are on the cards to uplift the lives of common people. The recently presented Federal Budget 2021-2022 is practical manifestation of pro poor approach of the government. All departments and organizations should contribute to uplift lives of the under privileged. Prices of commodities of daily use have direct impact on lives of common people. National Price Monitoring Committee is a forum which is actively monitoring the prices of essential items and ensuring its smooth supply. The Difference between wholesale and retail prices of essential items is not only huge but also varies across different cities which require thorough analysis. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin expressed these views while chairing the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee at Finance Ministry on Monday. The meeting was attended by SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Secretary Finance Division, all Chief Secretaries, Chief Commissioner Islamabad,   representatives of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and other relevant departments.

During the meeting the Secretary Finance briefed that the weekly SPI decreased by 0.59 % during the last week. A week earlier the weekly SPI declined by 0.61 percent. It is the third consecutive week that SPI is declining. He further briefed the meeting that the prices of 09 items declined during last week. The prices of 28 items remained stable while prices of 14 items saw slight upward trend. The meeting took stock of the strategic reserves of essential commodities and the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue issued directions to relevant departments maintain the strategic reserves of essential commodities and ensure timely and appropriate measures to avoid any untoward situation.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin during the meeting said that National Price Monitoring Committee should adopt a comprehensive and pro active strategy to minimize the gap of prices between grower and retailers. This reduction in gap will significantly lower the prices of the essential commodities for end users. He further said that Federal Bureau of Statistics is an independent entity but a committee with SAPM on Finance and Revenue as chairman and consisting of representatives from all stakeholders including representatives from provinces should engage with Federal Bureau of Statics to work out further perfection in data collection mechanism of PBS wherever required.

 
June 10, 2021 (PR No. 542)
 

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

June 09, 2021 (PR No. 543)

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Cabinet Division today.

The meeting was participated by Federal Ministers for Economic Affairs Division, Maritime Affairs, Power and Privatization along with Adviser to PM on Austerity and Institutional Reforms, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Secretaries of various Ministries & Divisions.

ECC expressed the government’s commitment to provide $1.1 bn for procurement of COVID-19 Vaccine for achieving the vaccination target (minimum 45 million and maximum 65 million) till December 2021. The ECC in its meeting of May 31st 2021 had already approved $ 130 million (equivalent to Rs. 20 billion) for procuring the vaccine for the month of June 2021. However, due to the increased target of vaccination by NCOC, another $50 million was required in addition to the already approved amount for the month of June 2021. ECC also approved the additional funds of $ 70 million for achieving the vaccination target for the month of June 2021. Vaccine procurement is currently the responsibility of National Disaster Management Authority.

ECC allowed the amendments in three SROs (SRO 235 (1) 2020, 236 (1)/2020 and 237(1) 2020) dated 20th March 2020 issued by the Revenue Division to facilitate the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination for the import of COVID 19 medical and diagnostic equipment. 

ECC approved the request of Economic Affairs Division to proceed with the formal request for availing the G-20 Debt Relief for the extended period, July- December 2021. ECC also permitted the signing of MoUs with bilateral creditors in terms of the prevailing rules and regulations.

ECC approved the following important technical supplementary grants, including the following:

       I.            Rs. 629.203 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for discharging the liabilities of Prime Minister’s fee reimbursement scheme for less developed areas during the current financial year.

    II.            Rs.378 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for meeting its various important requirements.

 III.            Rs. 1162.745 million for the Finance Division for the payment of the annual maintenance fee of System Application Product (SAP) software licenses and for purchases of SAP software licenses.

 IV.            Rs.338.637 million for the Finance Division to meet the various budgetary requirements of Department of Auditor General of Pakistan under different heads of accounts.

    V.            Rs. 350 million for the Controller General of Accounts for payments under the Prime Minister’s Package to the families of Government Employees who die in service and leave encashment.

 VI.            Rs. 74.135 million for meeting the marketing expenses of incentive scheme of home remittances. The Chair directed that the impact analysis of this marketing scheme should be shared with the forum.

VII.            Rs.505 million for Housing and Works Division for the repair and maintenance of different government buildings.

VIII.            Rs. 22.176 million for the Ministry of Human Rights for meeting various employee related expenses.

 IX.            Rs. 37.423 million for the Industries and Production Division for meeting various expenses of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority.

    X.            Rs.82.8 million for the Revenue Division for meeting its various obligatory expenditures.

 XI.            Rs. 42.9 billion for the Finance Division for ways and means advances availed by the Provincial Governments.

XII.            Rs. 105.490 million for the Ministry of Narcotics Control for the clearance of loans and advances of the Shuhda and deceased officials of ANF.

XIII.            Rs. 2 billion for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for meeting the financial requirements of the financially distressed Universities.

XIV.            Rs.12.2 million for the Ministry of Climate Change to be given to the Environmental Protection Agency to meet its various expenses.

 

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

June 07, 2021 (PR No. 541)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin presided over 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, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiyar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Additional Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Commerce, Additional Secretary M/o PD&SI, Chairman FBR, Member PBS, Commissioner Islamabad, senior representatives of the Provincial Governments and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, chicken, eggs, sugar, pulses and edible oil during the week under review.

While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Secretary Finance Division apprised that there has been a continuous decline in the weekly SPI over the period of last two consecutive weeks which is a positive sign indicating ease in inflationary pressures.

The weekly SPI decreased to 0.61% on 3rd June 2021 and 0.63% during the preceding week. The consolidated and coordinated efforts of the Federal as well as respective Provincial Governments and departments concerned have yielded consistent results.

The Committee was further briefed that declining trend in food inflation is being witnessed in the midst of tremendous price hike in international commodity prices during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic particularly the third wave.

The Finance Minister was briefed that as per international commodities' prices comparison published by the World Bank the international price of sugar has increased by 58.3% (Year-on-Year) and escalated to 5.6% during the last month (April 2021-May 2021). Similarly, the international price of Soyabean oil increased to whopping 119.20% in Year-on-Year comparison whereas increased by 23.5% during the last month (April-May 2021). The COVID-19 crisis has played havoc with international supply chain scenario and fuelled food inflation all over the globe.


Furthermore, the international price trend in Palm oil indicate an increase of 102.6% (Year-on-Year) and 7.9% during the last month.

Going by the aforesaid international trend, the domestic price hike couldn't be avoided as Pakistan is the net importer of staple food commodities like Wheat, Sugar, Edible oil, pulses etc. During these testing times, the Government has taken all possible measures to provide maximum relief to the masses during pandemic-induced global food inflation crisis.

While reviewing the situation, the Finance Minister stated that inflation and COVID-19 has been the two main concerns for global markets particularly during the second quarter of 2021. The ongoing pandemic has forced the global economy into a state of complete/partial lockdowns and with the wider dissemination of vaccines, the situation is likely to improve and will eventually ease the inflationary pressures towards the end of the year worldwide. There is a need to take into account a holistic picture vis-vis price hike at international and regional levels, he added.

While taking stock of the daily releases of wheat by the respective Provincial Governments, the Finance Minister strictly directed the Provincial Governments to continue daily release of subsidized wheat and ensure its availability to general public at affordable prices throughout the country in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.

While reviewing the prices of poultry, a significant decline in the national average of chicken prices is seen which is around 16% and could be attributed to the strict administrative measures taken by the respective Provincial administrations. The Finance Minister lauded the corrective measures taken and reiterated the firm commitment of the Government to ensure smooth supply of poultry at fair prices for the consumers. No anti-competitive practices will be tolerated, he affirmed.

PBS presented a detailed analysis about price differential between DC rates and open market prices in 13 key commodities on the occasion. A significant price variation was observed in prices of vegetables in some cities/districts across the country. The Finance Minister directed the respective Provincial Secretaries and ICT administration to track the situation on ground and update the committee about the measures taken to minimize price differential on basis of data available next week.

The Finance Minister further directed to workout modalities to maintain strategic reserves of sugar and wheat to ensure smooth supply at affordable prices during the upcoming financial year. The Finance Minister directed to initiate international procurement drive of wheat and sugar through public, private and G2G arrangements. The Government will import up to 4 million metric tons of wheat from July 2021 onwards to build a strategic reserve of wheat. Similarly, the Finance Minister directed that Ministry of Industries and Production in consultation with Ministry of Commerce and Provincial Governments to present a firmed-up estimate for importing sugar before next NPMC.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stressed that Government is fully cognizant of its responsibility regarding provision of essential items at affordable prices across the board. Keeping in view the fact that Pakistan is a net importer of food, the Government has taken all out measures to provide essential items through a network of Sahulat/Saasta Baazars, hefty subsidies through chain of Utility Stores outlets under Ramadan Package and is taking strict administrative measures to keep prices of basic items in check.
 
June 07, 2021 (PR No. 540)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with Managing Director / CEO Pakistan Stock Exchange

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with Managing Director / CEO Pakistan Stock Exchange Mr. Farrukh H. Khan to review proposals for Federal Budget 2021-22. Adviser to PM on Austerity and Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR and Secretary Finance Division were also present during the meeting.

MD, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) gave a detailed presentation on the huge impact of stock markets on wealth creation and mobilization of capital. He said that a broad-based capital market helps to achieve important economic and social objectives like increasing the number of tax payers, optimizing savings and investment rates, and reducing wealth inequalities. Tax measures are an important policy tool to increase investments and savings in the economy and to stay competitive with other markets.

The Managing Director submitted proposals to align rates of capital gain tax on disposal of securities in line with regional practices, rationalization of tax rates for companies listed on the stock exchange, enhanced tax credit for listed small and medium enterprises, unlocking the potential of private funds and many other suggestions that will help broadening the tax base/ revenue collection.

The Finance Minister appreciated the recommendations from the MD Stock Exchange and said that the present government is strongly committed to strengthening of the financial markets and is ready to adopt measures that could mobilize capital to more productive sectors. He further stated that the government is considering to introduce new tax regime that is in accordance with the changing economic environment. He welcomed the proposals and assured that these will be given due consideration in the upcoming budget.
 
June 05, 2021 (PR No. 539)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of EAC

A follow up session of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) meeting presided over by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin was held at the Finance Division today. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms & Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Mr. Abid Suleri, Mr. M. Ali Tabba, Dr. Rashid Amjad, Mr. Sultan Allana, Syed Salim Raza and many others from the private members category. The first session of the second meeting of Economic Advisory Council was held on 1st June 2021.

During the second session of second meeting of Economic Advisory Council, which continued four hours, four sub-groups gave their detailed presentation. The four sub-groups which presented their suggestions during second session of the second meeting of Economic Advisory Council included groups on Food Security, Agriculture, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Social Protection and Information Technology & Digitalization. Federal Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar and Chairman CPEC General (R) Asim Saleem Baja gave presentations on behalf of their respective groups. The presentations included in-depth analysis of the relevant sectors, current functioning and ways forward for future. All the participants gave their inputs over the presentations.

The first sub-group presentation on Agriculture was made by the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam. Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Khusroo Bakhtiyar, emphasized the need to introduce the ‘Agricultural Transformation Plan’ which has been prepared by the present government after extensive discussion with the relevant stakeholders and after making detailed analysis of available data. The Finance Minister assured that the proposed plan will be thoroughly considered and firmed up recommendations will be made a part of the upcoming budget.

The subgroup on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) led by Chairman CPEC Authority gave a comprehensive presentation on the progress of the project. The group also thanked the Finance Minister as Chairman ECNEC for according approval to road connectivity projects for Balochistan Province that will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the Project. The group briefed the meeting that the projects under CPEC are being completed according to our commitment. General Asim Saleem Bajwa discussed the possibilities of investment in the special economic zones in collaboration with the regional development partners in a structured manner through short, medium and longterm strategies.

The subgroup on social security led by Ms. Sania Nishtar SA PM on Social Protection, briefed the meeting on the proposed plan of interventions by Ehsaas in the next year and submitted proposals for budgetary allocations. The Chair appreciated the proposals and commended the SAPM on evolving a comprehensive program for social protection and poverty alleviation.

The IT subgroup discussed their proposals to explore the potential of the sector and create an enabling environment for generating exportable surplus. The Finance Minister tasked the group to bring up proposals that facilitate local trade, enhance financial inclusion, pave the way for forming partnerships with International IT Experts and develop skills of the untrained youth. He also affirmed his support for the sector by making policy changes according to the needs of the sector.
The next follow up session would be held soon. The sub-groups on State Owned Enterprises, Energy & Industrialization and Exports will make their presentations in the concluding session.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin during the meeting said that fundamental objective for constitution of Economic Advisory Council is to make concrete short, medium and longterm strategies for growth and transformation of all sectors of the economy. Different sub-groups have been constituted to get concrete proposals in consultation with all sub-groups. The Finance Minister immensely appreciated the professional in-depth deliberation on the presentation during the session.

The Finance Minister further directed to make regular discussions a part of the working of the Finance Division with reference to EAC.
 
June 05, 2021 (PR No. 538)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to review the salient features of the proposed Auto Policy

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, here at the Finance Division to review the salient features of the proposed Auto Policy.

Ministry of Industries and Production gave a detailed presentation on the proposed policy interventions which will have a significant impact on revenue collection, enhancing productivity, import substitution, localization of parts, possibility of producing exportable surplus, increasing affordability for the local consumers, avoiding under invoicing, addressing demand supply gap and ensuring safety. The role of new entrants in the market was also discussed.

The Finance Minister while reviewing all the proposals said, that the new policy should be designed in a manner that it is beneficial for all the three relevant stakeholders; the consumer, manufacturer and the government.

The Finance Minister directed Ministry of Industries and Production to seek guidance work closely with FBR and Ministry of Finance to give final shape to the proposals at the earliest for onward incorporation in the Federal Budget.
 
June 04, 2021 (PR No. 537)

Government has completed the first payment transaction of 40% to 20 IPPs

In compliance with the directives of the Honourable Prime Minister and under guidance of the Finance Minister, the Government has completed the first payment transaction of 40% to 20 IPPs amounting to Rs. 89.2 billion equally divided in cash 5 years’ Sukuk and 10 years’ PIBs. Finance Division has completed this transaction in coordination with relevant organizations / departments including State Bank of Pakistan and Power Division.

 
June 04, 2021 (PR No. 536)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECNEC

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today at the Cabinet Division.

The meeting was participated by Minister for Power Hammad Azhar, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain.

ECNEC approved the following projects:
Dualization of Lilla Interchange (M-2) via Pind-Dadan Khan to Jhelum including Bypass (02 number) 128 KM, District Jhelum. The project was approved at the total rationalized cost of Rs.12.760 billion. The scope of work includes construction of 2 bypasses, bridges over nullahs, culverts and retaining/ breast/ toe walls. The project will be completed in 3 years. ECNEC also directed that the Government of Punjab will fund the land acquisition cost, horticulture charges and Provincial Revenue Authority Tax charges through its own resources.

Reconstruction of Turbat_Mand Road from M-8 till Iranian Border_Radeeq, length-115 Km Project was approved at the total rationalized cost of Rs.10.461 billion. The project is expected to be completed in 2 years by Communication Department Balochistan (as a part of South Balochistan Package). The project starts from Gwadar- Ratodero Motorway to Kurumb (Iranian Border) in Balochistan Province.

Construction of Panjgur-Gichak-Awaran Road, District Panjgur/ Awaran, 228 Km Project was also approved at the rationalized cost of Rs.14.68 billion. The project was approved after deleting the security cost, land acquisition cost, reduction of design consultancy charges from 1.6% to 1% excess in quantities. The Government of Balochistan will make security arrangements for the project and acquire land through its own resources. The release of PSDP funds for the project will be conditional to Government of Balochistan allocating a minimum road maintenance budget of Rs. 5 billion for FY 2021-22 and onwards for its provincial highway network.

Inter_ Provincial Connectivity Economic Corridor Through Gilgit- Baltistan and AJK(Thallichi GB- Shounter AJK), widening and rehabilitation of Astore Valley Road, Package i-iv_ 103 KM, Package iv-vii_ 18 KM, and total length 121 KM (package I to V& VII) Project was approved at the rationalized cost of Rs.19.195 billion. Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan is the sponsoring agency of the project which is expected to be completed in 3 years. 

Dualization of Khuzdar-Kuchlak Section of National Highway (N-25), 330.52 Km Project was approved at PC-I cost of Rs. 81.582 billion. The project will be constructed through Districts Khuzdar, Surab, Kalat, Mustang, Quetta, Kuchlak, Balochistan. National Highway Authority will be the executing agency.

Construction of Shandoor_ Gilgit Road, 216 Km Project was approved at the PC-I cost of Rs. 49.946 billion. The project road is located in Gilgit- Baltistan Province and will be executed by National Highway Authority.

Sindh Early Learning Enhancement through Classroom Transformation Project was approved at the estimated cost of Rs.27.162 billion. The Sindh School Education and Literacy Department will sponsor the project which will benefit 12 districts of Sindh province. The Project is expected to be completed in 5 years by April 2026. Mr. Nisar Ahmad Khuhro specially thanked the forum for the approval of the project.

Gish Kaur Storage Dam, Sami Kallag, District Kech Project was approved at the total cost of Rs.11.789 billion. The dam will have the storage capacity of 0.04580 Million Acre Feet (MAF) and will provide irrigation facility to 13800 acres of command area. The Project is expected to complete by 2025.

The Construction of Panjgoor Storage Dam Project was also approved at the total cost of Rs.12.870 billion. Ministry of Water Resources will sponsor the project which is located on Rakhshan River.

The Awaran Dam Project was approved at the total cost of Rs.14.86 billion. The project will be sponsored by Ministry of Water Resources; Irrigation Department Government of Balochistan will execute the Project.

The Establishment of University of Applied Engineering and Emerging Technologies (UAEET), Sialkot, Punjab was approved at the total cost of Rs. 16.648 billion and will be financed through ADP 2021-22 of the Government of Punjab.

The Establish of IT Park, Karachi, was also approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs.31.199 billion. The project will be executed by Pakistan Software Export Board.

Pak University of Engineering and Emerging Technologies (PUEET) Phase I was approved in principle at the total cost of Rs 23.551 billion. ECNEC directed that the cost of the project may be further rationalized in 3 months and ECNEC should be informed on the same.
 
June 04, 2021 (PR No. 535)

Minister for Finance and Revenue addressed a virtual meeting with the representatives of the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin addressed a virtual meeting with the representatives of the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) through a virtual link at the Finance Division.

SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Pakistan Ambassador to the US Dr. Asad Majeed Khan and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister underlined that the Government intends to further strengthen its valuable trade, investment and people-to-people ties with the US. He stated that the Government is firmly committed to providing enabling environment to promote foreign investment in the country.

While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister underscored that Pakistan has witnessed V-shape recovery amid COVID-19 pandemic due to prudent policies of the Government. The Government is clearly focused to pursue an all inclusive, sustained and robust economic growth over the period of time. Sound economic planning is the key to spur growth. The ultimate goal is to take growth to around 6-7% through short, medium and longterm planning in a structured manner, he stressed.

The Finance Minister further stated that Pakistan is looking forward to further deepen trade and investment linkages between the Pakistan and US. Coupled with 220 million consumer market, growing middle class and a young vibrant population, Pakistan offers immense investment and business opportunities for the US enterprises, he added.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister thanked the participants for showing their interest and welcomed suggestions  and feedback on the occasion.  The Finance Minister expressed his firm commitment to facilitate American enterprises and businesses in Pakistan.

 
June 04, 2021 (PR No. 534)

APG on Money Laundering has published results of Pakistan's second Mutual Evaluation follow-up Report on 2 June 2021

Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has published results of Pakistan’s second Mutual Evaluation follow-up Report on 2 June 2021. As per the report, Pakistan has achieved compliant/largely compliant rating in 31 out of 40 FATF Recommendations in Technical Compliance. These results prove the sincerity along with resolve of the Government in complying with FATF requirements. These results are also a manifestation of the irreversibility and sustainability of the complete process in bringing Pakistan at par with Global AML/CFT standards. These results are manifestation of a whole of government approach adopted to achieve the same. An upgrade of 21 Recommendations within this short period of time remains unprecedented in FATF history.

FATF’s Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) of jurisdictions is assessed in two domains i.e., Technical Compliance/Legal Instruments (40 FATF Recommendations) and Demonstration of Effectiveness (11 Immediate Outcomes). Pakistan’s MER was adopted in October 2019 in which Pakistan was rated compliant and largely complaint in 10 out of 40 FATF Recommendations for the Technical Compliance. After adoption of MER, Pakistan was placed under Post Observation Period by FATF which expired in February 2021. During the said period, Pakistan carried out major legal reforms with the enactment of 14 Federal Laws & 3 Provincial Laws along with relevant rules and regulations. The laws not only strengthened the systems in Pakistan but also brought in the sustainability. Pakistan submitted its report to FATF on its Technical Compliance on 1st October 2020.

APG has acknowledged that Pakistan has made notable progress in addressing the Technical Compliance deficiencies identified in its MER and has been re-rated compliant /largely compliant in 31 out of 40 FATF Recommendations. Pakistan has also submitted re-rating requests to APG on four more recommendations in next follow-up report which are under review by APG. The technical upgrades achieved will help manifest achievement of effectiveness in 11 immediate outcomes of the APG MER process. As a result of this substantial progress, APG has decided to move Pakistan from enhanced (expedited) to enhanced follow-up; and Pakistan will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

 
June 04, 2021 (PR No. 533)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to discuss and develop the institutional framework of funding for the Kamyab Jawan Programme

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting at the Finance Division to discuss and develop the institutional framework of funding for the Kamyab Jawan Programme.

SAPM on Youth Affairs, Mr. Usman Dar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Executive Director Akhuwat Foundation, Presidents of National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab and Habib Bank Limited, Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing & Development Authority and Chairman HBL attended the meeting.

The Finance Minister considered in detail the proposals prepared by SBP, Bank of Punjab and Akhuwat Foundation. The proposals have been developed to facilitate the provision of subsidised loans for the agriculture, low cost housing and small businesses to generate employment and promote growth. The role of micro-finance institutions, commercial banks and Rural Support Programmes was discussed and highlighted as partner institutions to achieve the objectives of the programme. There was also a discussion on removing the age limit for loan eligibility so that all segments of the society could benefit from the Kamyab Jawan Programme. The Finance Minister said that he wanted the programme to be finalized in a manner so as to cover all the targeted beneficiaries.

At the end, the Finance Minister directed all concerned to prepare the final proposal so that budgetary allocations could be made accordingly.

 
June 03, 2021 (PR No. 532)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting with Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and those from the Auto Industry of Pakistan

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired two separate meetings through video link with the representatives of the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and those from the Auto Industry of Pakistan in order to ensure the full participation of the business community in the current budget making exercise. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood were also present in both the meetings to facilitate the consultative process before the budget making exercise. The second meeting was also attended by Adviser to PM on Austerity and Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain.

The delegation of the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry was represented by Zubair Motiwala and with him were the multiple representatives of the business community of Karachi. The participants apprised the Minister of the importance of the mega city in generating 58% of the exportable surplus, its share in employment generation and revenue collection. The representatives of the business community discussed a range of issues including the energy subsidies for export oriented sectors, Tax concessions/ refunds and multiple issues related to cooperation from FBR and facilitation of the small and medium enterprises/exporters.  They also requested the Finance Minister to consider the city for a fair share in the development budget.

The delegation of the Auto Industry was led by Mr. Ali Asghar Jamali, CEO Indus Motors. The delegation presented the demands of the Auto Industry for the upcoming budget. They informed the Minister that any additional tax on the automobile can have a negative impact on consumer prices and sales of the automobiles, however, the situation can be improved. The delegation then requested concessions in sales tax, Federal Excise Duty, Customs Duty and Additional Customs Duty on the cars with the commitment to introduce corresponding decrease in the local prices. They also offered to settle issues pending in courts in an amicable manner and honoring their commitment to the customers for timely product delivery.

The Finance Minister assured both delegations that the government is cognizant of the issues of the business community and is ready to rationalize taxes and duties to increase the tax payer base and remove unnecessary hurdles by FBR in the expansion of the businesses, small or large, for the overall benefit of the economy. He also said that the upcoming budget will play a major role in export promotion and increasing the footprint of small and medium businesses in the economy and for that all necessary preparations have already been done.

 
June 03, 2021 (PR No. 531)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to review the progress on the Privatization of the SME Bank

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the progress on the Privatization of the SME Bank. Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro also participated the meeting along with SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Privatization Commission and State Bank of Pakistan.

It was briefed to the Finance Minister that the pre-bidding process is complete and interested parties have been shortlisted. The PC Board has also completed initial discussion/ consultations with the shortlisted bidders to facilitate them in the completion of their due diligence process. The Privatization Commission also informed the Finance Minister of the equity requirement of the SME Bank on which the Finance Minister directed SA PM on Revenue to assess the requirements and prepare a proposal for strengthening the balance sheet of the SME Bank.

The Minister for Privatization also informed that they are constantly in touch with the potential investors and will keep updating the Finance Ministry, SBP and all the other relevant stakeholders of the new developments. The Finance Minister affirmed his support for the Privatization Commission for the successful completion of the transaction.

 
June 02, 2021 (PR No. 530)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Cabinet Division.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Minister for Interior, Minister for Privatization, Minister for Maritime Affairs, Minister for National Food Security and Research, SA PM on Finance and Revenue, Adviser to PM on Commerce, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, SA PM on Energy and Governor State Bank of Pakistan attended the meeting.

ECC approved the request of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development regarding Federal Government grant for pension support amounting to Rs. 4.52 billion. ECC decided that the expenditure may be met from own resources as EOBI is a self financing entity. The Board of trustees of EOBI was also directed to look into other possibilities of meeting the pension liabilities.

ECC also approved the proposal of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for “Appointment of Foreign Engineering Consultant for planning, preparing, reviewing and Updating of Port Master Plan of Port Qasim Authority, Karachi. The ECC directed that all matters where the Authority is using its own funds, after following the standard procedures, may be decided by the Boards/ Ministries for ensuring efficient progress on important matters.

ECC granted approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for the re-opening of the Kohat Oil Depot under the Inland Freight Equalization Margin (IFEM) mechanism. The re-opening of the depot will add approximately 2000 kilo liters to the country’s storage capacity.

The ECC approved the summary moved by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for the revalidation of the ECC approval for exploration activities in Block-8 Iraq by PPL. Government of Pakistan allowed PPL to undertake the committed exploration activities with a minimum financial obligation of US$100 million (in 2012); out of which US$77.6 million have already have been invested. ECC allowed the revalidation with the direction to the PPL Board to revalidate feasibility of investment.
The following technical supplementary grants were approved by the ECC:

  • Rs. 873.320 million for the Ministry of Defence for meeting the expenses of its various Executive Departments.
  • Rs.1.5 billion for the Finance Division for providing food subsidy of the Government of AJ&K
  • Rs. 5 billion for the Ministry of Interior for the phase III of Civil Armed Forces raising
  • Rs.190 million for the Ministry of Interior for paying off liabilities on account of ‘internal security duty allowance’.
  • Rs. 320 million for the Ministry of Interior for meeting the outstanding administrative expenses.
  • Rs. 204.149 million for the Ministry of Interior to meet the pending liabilities of the Shuhada Families (HQs Frontier Corps KP North).
  • Rs.957 million for the Ministry of Interior for meeting the Employee Related Expenses of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab).
  • Rs. 456 million for the Ministry of Interior for meeting the requirements of Sustainable Goal Achievement Program.
  • Rs. 250 million for National Heritage & Culture Division for establishing “Federal Government Artist Welfare Fund”.
  • Rs. 150 million for the Revenue Division to meet its operating expenses.
  • Three other technical supplementary grants of Rs1.762 billion, Rs 3.25 billion and Rs. 7.87 billion were approved for the Finance Division for providing funds to KP and Punjab Governments for strengthening hospitals and for effective response to COVID-19 and other natural calamities.
 
June 02, 2021 (PR No. 529)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting with the delegation of Oil Refineries operating in Pakistan

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with delegation of representatives of Oil Refineries operating in Pakistan. Federal Minister for Power Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Secretary Finance, Secretary Petroleum, Chairman FBR, DG Oil and Petroleum Division, Member Board of Directors PARCO & PRL and Consultant Attock Refinery Limited participated the meeting. The meeting was held at Finance Division today to discuss the draft Refinery Policy.

The representatives of the refineries told that oil refineries operating in Pakistan cater for 55% of petroleum needs of the country and directly contribute to energy security. Installation of oil refineries requires heavy investment. Last Refineries Policy was announced by the government in 1997. Since 1997, due to change in realities on the ground, working for oil refineries has become more difficult with the passage of time. Oil refineries currently are facing multiple problems including decline in profit margins. They emphasized the need for Government support for increased investments to meet the requirement of Euro-v fuels and value added products through installation of deep conversion refineries.

Finance Minister directed the concerned officers of Finance Division and Chairman FBR to come with concrete proposals regarding the proposed policy in consultation with all stakeholders including representatives of oil refineries, Ministry of Petroleum and other relevant forums.
 
June 02, 2021 (PR No. 528)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the second meeting with Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing & Development Authority and Country Director World Bank

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting at the Finance Division with Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing & Development Authority and Country Director World Bank (WB) Mr. Najy Benhassine to consider the possibility of providing additional funds for housing finance in Pakistan. SA PM on Finance and Revenue was also present in the meeting.

The Country Director, WB shared World Bank’s proposed credit facilities for various interventions in the housing sector totaling $200m. He stated that World Bank would support the efforts on the Government to boost the housing sector especially for low cost housing.
The Finance Minister appreciated the support of the World Bank and emphasized upon the importance of housing sector in reviving economic growth.

The Finance Minister underlined that the housing sector was the priority sector of the Government and asked all the relevant officials to finalize all the technical details and complete the relevant actions relating to proposed World Bank funding within next few days.
 
June 01, 2021 (PR No. 527)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired chaired the second meeting of the Economic Advisor Council (EAC)

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the second meeting of the Economic Advisor Council (EAC) at the Finance Division today.

The Finance Minister welcomed the participants and highlighted the objective of the formation of Economic Advisory Council, which is the promotion of evidence based policy formation and reforms with the effective consultation and feedback from all important stakeholders. He said that the ultimate goal of these consultative meetings is to spur growth and take it to around 6-7% in a couple of years to make Pakistan a regionally competitive economy.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, introduced the sub-groups and briefly highlighted the most important challenges in respective sectors. He said that increasing the share of direct taxes, energy cost rationalization, , focusing on education & health, increasing investment to GDP ratio and reducing the cost of doing business are the top priorities of the  Government.

After the brief introduction, the EAC Groups gave presentations on the topics namely Inclusive and sustainable growth, Housing and construction sector, Industry and Exports, Agriculture, Revenue and Expenditure, Financial Sector and Debt Management, Energy, Social Protection and Domestic Commerce.

The Finance Minister appreciated the hard work done by the sub-groups in formulating their proposals and directed to form liaison with key stakeholders for obtaining valuable feedback and crystallizing input. He underscored that the detailed interaction which is taking place at this forum will prove an effective tool for policy making. He also affirmed his support and facilitation for all sub-groups on the occasion.

The Finance Minister especially acknowledged the contribution and ownership provided by the private sector for coming up with  innovative ideas that can yield valuable results.

The meeting was participated by Minister for Energy, Minister for Industries and Production, Adviser to PM on Commerce, SA PM on Finance and Revenue, SA PM on Ehsaas, SA PM on National Food Security, Chairman BOI, Chairman NPHDA, Chairman SECP, Governor SBP and leading representatives of the private sector which are the notified members of EAC.
 
June 01, 2021 (PR No. 526)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division today.

SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, Chairperson CCP, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officers of various Ministries participated in the meeting.

While briefing the NPMC about the weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that the SPI decreased by 0.63% on 27th May 2021. The prices of 10 items declined and 29 items remained stable during the week under review.

The Finance Secretary also briefed that computing on Month on Month basis, there was only 0.1% increase in CPI inflation in May 2021. The average (July-May) CPI inflation remained 8.8% whereas it was 10.9% last year during the same period, he added.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the Provincial governments and Federal Ministries/Organizations for making an effort towards controlling inflation to provide relief to the masses by easing out inflationary pressure.

During the meeting, the progress on the earlier decisions of the NPMC forum was also reviewed. It was emphasized that the Ministry of National Food Security & Research will assume the primary role in raising the production of essential imported food items including edible oil and pulses. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research also reaffirmed its resolve to build reserves of essential food items in partnership with the Provinces.

Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the NPMC that there is considerable progress on the issue of determining the ex-mill price of sugar in consultation with the Provincial Governments and the Ministry will come up with the final position on the issue shortly.

PBS gave a detailed Presentation on gap analysis of the prices of essential food items in different markets across the country. NPMC observed that the prices are higher in the Federal Capital. The chair issued directions to the Capital Administration to control the prices of essential items in the Federal Capital and present a detailed report on the measures taken in the next week’s meeting.

Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) briefed the Chair on the strict action being taken against profiteers in the poultry market and the resultant decline in the price of chicken in the country. CCP briefed that their action will continue until the prices are normalized. The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the CCP and said that their active actions against unfair practices in the markets will bring maximum relief to the common man.

Chief Secretary Punjab informed the NPMC that MD PASSCO has been facilitated as per the directions of the Chair to meet wheat procurement targets of the PASSCO.

PBS also shared data on difference between wholesale and retail prices and the interpretation of price variations. The NPMC was also briefed on the intervention of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) in mitigating the inflationary pressure. The Finance Minister directed to the Utility Stores Corporation to proactively make arrangements for provision of smooth supply of all essential items in the country to control prices of essential items. It will help to ease out the life of common man in the country.

The Chair, in his concluding remarks, appreciated the efforts of all those who are working towards controlling the prices of essential items and making lives easier for the masses as it is the most important priority of the current government.
 
June 01, 2021 (PR No. 525)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting to review the progress on the Privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL)

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the progress on the Privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretaries of Finance, Power, Petroleum and Privatization also participated the meeting.

All the participants attending the meeting, shared their input on various issues related to the transaction and briefed the Finance Minister on the progress achieved since the last meeting on the subject.

The Finance Minister assured the Privatization Commission and other stakeholders of his full support in resolving technical issues related to the transaction and expressed resolve to complete the transaction at the earliest possible time.
 
May 31, 2021 (PR No. 524)

Petroleum Prices

The Prime Minister has decided to maintain the prices of petroleum products as they were on May 17th, 2021.

The government has not increased the prices of the petroleum products since 16th April 2021 by adjusting sales tax and petroleum levy so that there is no corresponding increase in the prices of essential items and maximum relief is provided to the common man.

The prices with effect from June 1st 2021 onwards will be as follows:

Ms petrol Rs.108.56 / liter
HSD. Rs.110.76/liter
SKO. Rs. 80.00/liter
LDO. Rs.77.65/liter

 
May 31, 2021 (PR No. 523)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a special 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 Railways Azam Swati, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The ECC meeting was specially called to provide technical supplementary grant of USD 130 million (equal to approximately Rs.20 billion) to the National Disaster Management Fund to ensure timely procurement of Corona Vaccine for the effective national response to COVID-19 Pandemic. The funds will be utilized for the procurement of 10 million doses of the COVID vaccine during the month of June 2021. During the new financial year, the need for additional funds will be reviewed and additional funds will be provided accordingly. The administration of vaccine shall be the responsibility of M/o National Health Services Regulation and Coordination and Provincial Health Departments.
 
May 28, 2021 (PR No. 522)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting on the expansion of Kamyab Jawan Program

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting through video link on the expansion of Kamyab Jawan Program with SAPM on Youth Affairs, Usman Dar and the Presidents of National Bank, Habib Bank and Bank of Punjab.

The Finance Minister also invited Dr. Amjad Saqib, Amir Masood Khan and Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority along with others to share their views on the expansion of the Project so that more and more people specially youth could become a part of the government’s financial inclusion program. Banks were asked to prepare a design of a program (for tier 1 borrowers) through which they could collaborate with Microfinance Banks and Microfinance Institutions and provide short/medium term loans at zero or least possible interest rates for entrepreneurship, agricultural development and for financing housing construction.

The participating banks and other stakeholders shared their views and experiences in the meeting on the subject and agreed with the general idea of maximizing the use of financial resources by micro-credit users.

The Finance Minister directed that all the major banks and microfinance institutions to come up with their suggestions on the design of the program within a week’s time and also earmark a percentage of their resources for the purpose. Government will provide credit guarantee and risk sharing facility to provide comfort to the commercial banks.
 
May 28, 2021 (PR No. 521)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of the Sub-Committee of CCoP

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) through a video link here at the Finance Division. Minister for Privatization, Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, SA PM on Power, Chairman FBR and SA PM on Finance and Revenue participated in the meeting along with the secretaries of Power, Petroleum and Privatization Divisions.

During the meeting, the progress on the privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) was reviewed regarding important decisions taken at the level of CCoE, CCoP and ECC. The participants briefed the Finance Minister that the progress on the matters with the IPPs has boosted the investors’ confidence; there is also a significant development on the matters which have to be decided among the different government entities, Ministries and provincial governments.

The Finance Minister directed all the relevant stakeholders to meet during the next week for sharing progress on the respective tasks assigned to them to take the transaction to its final phase.
 
May 28, 2021 (PR No. 520)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with the delegation of the representatives of the Beverage Industry of Pakistan

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting through video link with the delegation of the representatives of the Beverage Industry of Pakistan.

The delegation briefly presented to the Finance Minister the progress made by the Beverage Industry of Pakistan during the last 8 to 9 years. They also discussed the role of the beverage industry in revenue and employment generation and the change in local and global business scenarios after the onset of COVID-19. The delegation also submitted their proposals for the upcoming budget.

The Finance Minister said that although he is supportive of adopting all those measures that can boost the industrial development, generate employment and help in expansion of businesses; any decision, regarding the taxation/ relief provided to any industry which has direct linkages with general well being and health of the public, will be taken after a careful analysis of all the facts and arguments.
 
May 27, 2021 (PR No. 519)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting to discuss the new tariff for the Industry / Export Oriented Sectors in the upcoming budget

With the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin in chair, a meeting was held at the Finance Division to discuss the new tariff for the Industry / Export Oriented Sectors in the upcoming budget. Federal Minister for Industries & Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar were also present in the meeting along with Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

Different options for concessional tariff were discussed in the meeting along with their implications on the subsidies, earnings, production and revenue generation. It was a general consensus that there is a need to generate a database which could establish the nexus between tariffs and progress of the export oriented sectors/industry. The Minister for Energy also drew the attention of the participants towards the scarcity of natural gas in the system (which is cheap) and the excess units of electricity available at a higher rate, and, to the already decided principle that the domestic users have the first right of use in case of natural gas. It was also acknowledged in the meeting that the least cost units offered by the government have proved beneficial for the overall productive health of the economy especially export oriented sectors. The Finance Minister, on this occasion, reiterated his firm commitment for accelerated growth with the willing contribution from the business community.

The Chair after discussion with the relevant stakeholders, decided that for the next budget subsidies will be allocated on the basis of actual consumption/accrual and a more targeted approach for disbursement will be adopted. It was also decided in principle that the growth of Export Oriented sector will be the main objective of the government while offering any change/consistency in the rates, so that the industry should use its full potential and play its rightful role in the development of the country.
 
May 26, 2021 (PR No. 518)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin virtually chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today at the Cabinet Division.

The meeting was participated by Minister for National Food Security and Research, Minister for EAD, Minister for Maritime Affairs, Minister for planning Development and Special Initiatives, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, SAPM on Energy, Advisor to Prime Minister on Austerity and Institutional Reforms and Chairman BoI besides Secretaries of different Ministries and Divisions.

ECC approved the Launching of 2nd Phase of EHSAAS EMERGENCY CASH PROGRAM. The second phase envisages increasing the number of regular Ehsaas Kafalat beneficiaries to 8 million by June, 2021 through the ongoing National Socio-economic Registry Survey (NSER). All these beneficiaries will be provided a 6 monthly tranche (January- June, 2021) of Rs 12000/- per beneficiary under Ehsaas Kafalat. 4 million additional beneficiaries will be identified through the ongoing NSER survey by using higher eligibility threshold while remaining below the poverty line. These additional 4 million beneficiaries will also be provided one-time emergency cash assistance of Rs.12000/- per beneficiary to compensate for unemployment caused by COVID. The disbursement process will be initiated within this financial year. The financial impact of providing assistance to these 4 million additional beneficiaries will be Rs.48 billion.

A summary was moved by Ministry of Energy (Power Division) for the payment of balance amount of Net Hydel Profits to WAPDA through Power Division / CPPA-G. ECC decided to form a Committee with members from Power Division, WAPDA and Finance Division to discuss the matter in detail and suggest a mechanism for payment of Net Hydel Projects in a timely manner without pressurizing the national exchequer.

ECC also approved the issuance of 12 different notifications for the implementation of Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Act, 2021. The Implementation of the PSW Act 2021 will significantly reduce the paper work for importers and exporters and will help boosting the trade and economic activity by providing connectivity between different government organizations and with other regional and global windows.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants were approved by the ECC.

  • Rs. 700 million for the Aviation Division for meeting the Employee Related Expenditure (ERE) of Airport Security Force.
  • Rs. 288.893 million for the Cabinet Division for Repairs and Purchases of 6 Aviation Squadron.
  • Rs. 3.906 billion for the Defence Division for meeting the shortfall of funds for meeting various operational expenses at Pakistan Navy Headquarters.
  • Rs.124.727 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training for meeting the expenses of its various allied departments.
  • Rs.819.406 million for the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for the development expenditure of Special Communication Organization.
  • Rs. 400 million for the Ministry of Interior for raising a Special Security Wing at the Kartarpur Corridor.
  • Rs.42.897 million to the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives for Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) for payment of pensions.
  • Rs.806.585 million for the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for clearing the pension liabilities of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).
 
May 26, 2021 (PR No. 517)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin virtually chaired the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today at the Cabinet Division.

ECNEC approved the Gomal Zam Multipurpose Project (2nd Revised PC-I) at the total cost of Rs. 25,928 million. The Forum also granted the Ex-Post Facto approval of the expenditures and financial closure of the project by relaxing the direction/ decision of the earlier meeting of ECNEC on 28-8-2013. The project is located on the Gomal River in South Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkwha. The main objective of the project is to harness flood water and provide assured irrigation water supply of 848 cusecs to irrigate 191,139 acres of land including 28,053 acres additional land which falls under the Waran Canal System and to generate 17.4 MW of electricity. WAPDA is responsible for the execution and implementation arrangement of the Project.

The COVID-19 Response and Other Natural Calamities Control Program (Sindh Component) was approved at the total cost of Rs.20,822.046 million without any foreign exchange component. Department of Health, Government of Sindh will be responsible for sponsoring and executing the Program. The Project will be completed on equally shared financing basis by the Government of Sindh and the Federal government through PSDP. It is expected to be completed by the end of year 2023. The project envisages strengthening of provincial health system to effectively respond to the pandemic like situations at THQ and DHQ hospitals. ECNEC also decided that any escalation in the cost of the project will be borne by the provincial government.

ECNEC also gave approval to the 30 MW Hydro Power Project Ghowari (2nd Revised) at the total cost of Rs.16399.760 million. The Project is located on the left bank of Shayok River near Ghowari Village in District Ghnache in Gilgit Baltistan. The project is expected to be completed in 4 years.

The 20 MW Hydro Power Project Hazel, Gilgit was also approved by ECNEC at the revised PC-I  cost of Rs.12,921.662 million. The project will be executed by Water and Power Department, Gilgit Baltistan.

The Rainee Canal Project (Phase-1: 110 KM), Revised PC-I was approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs.20, 533.836 million. WAPDA is responsible for the execution of the project which will irrigate 412,400 Acres in Phase I at a design discharge of 5500 cusecs in districts of Kashmore, Ghotki, Sukkar and Khairpur.

The Construction of Hoshab–Awaran–Khuzdar Section of M-8 Project; Section 2: Awaran-Naal, length: 168 Km was also approved by ECNEC at the rationalized cost of Rs. 32,244.82 million. National Highway Authority will be responsible for executing the project. The scope of work includes construction of bridges, box culverts, retaining walls/ toe walls, shoulders, along with drainage and allied works. The project is expected to complete in 42 months.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Roads Rehabilitation Project “Under PKHA Portfolio” was also approved by ECNEC at the Revised PC-I cost of Rs. 28,155.972 million. The location of the project is Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province, South, Central and Eastern Regions. The revised PC-I of the project envisages rehabilitation of 274 km of existing provincial highway network of Khyber Pakhtunkwa as compared to original scope of 214 Km. It is expected that the Project will complete by 2023.

The Chair, while discussing the projects, directed Planning Commission to prioritize projects that are strategic in nature or can be completed in a shorter period of time to save the exchequer from cost over runs and unnecessary delays in the completion of projects.

The Feasibility and Dualization of Mardan-Swabi Road, Revised was also approved by ECNEC at the Revised PC-I cost of Rs.13,024.42 million. Communication and Works Department through Pakhtunkwa Highways Authority, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa will be the executing agency of the project. The Project is expected to complete by 2022-2023.

Construction of Hyderabad- Sukkar (306 Km), 06 –Lane Divided, fenced motorway on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) Basis, Revised: was also approved by ECNEC at the revised PC-I cost of Rs. 191,471.074 million. The project is to be implemented on BOT –user-charge basis with provision of capital and operational VGF to improve the financial viability of the project. The project is expected to be completed in 30 months.

ECNEC also considered the summary for procurement of 600 Flat Container Bogie Wagons and forwarded the proposal to Public Private Partnership Board to develop a transaction structure on PPP basis.

 
May 26, 2021 (PR No. 516)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting virtually with Chief Minister Gilgi-Baltistan

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting virtually with Chief Minister Gilgi-Baltistan, Muhammad Khalid Khursheed here at the Finance Division. 

The Provincial Secretary Finance gave a detailed presentation to the Finance Minister on the financial requirements of the GB Administration during the current and next financial year.  The Finance Minister said that the Federal Government is ready to cooperate with the GB Government for the provision of additional funds during the next financial year but GB Government should also rationalize its expenditures as the federal government is also exercising strict financial discipline.

The Finance Minister approved the requests of the GB government for the provision of additional subsidy incurred on purchase of wheat, issuance of NOCs for purchase of vehicles from already available funds to monitor developmental activities and grant of special exemption for purchase of school buses, health ambulances, excavators, road making machinery, operational vehicles for education, health works, Water and Power, Emergency Services and Law Enforcing Agencies respectively.

The Finance Minister assured his full support for the development of the GB area on priority basis. The Chief Minister thanked the Finance Minister for his support and encouragement.

 
May 25, 2021 (PR No. 515)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the 4th meeting of the Advisory Committee

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the 4th meeting of the Advisory Committee for the release of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK & Gilgit Baltistan through a video link.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin-ul-Haque ,Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, SAPM Finance & Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o IT & Telecommunication, Secretary Kashmir Affairs and GB, Chairman PTA, Executive Member Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Secretary IT and Telecommunications Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui briefed the Advisory Committee about the draft policy directive of the Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) Spectrum in the Country. Member Telecom Omar Malik presented the draft policy directive before the Committee for due deliberations.

The Chairman PTA presented details regarding progress made for auction of Spectrum in AJK & Gilgit Baltistan.

The Finance Minister appreciated the progress made for the sale of available NGMS Spectrum and urged to accelerate the process for completion within the current financial year.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister directed that the whole process of auction must be transparent, competitive and in accordance with the legal framework. There should be no compromise on quality of services. The end goal is to improve the efficiency of the Spectrum for strengthening and expanding communication / IT services across the country in accordance with the vision of the Prime Minister for a digitally progressive and inclusive Pakistan, he added.

While speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin-ul-Haq briefed the Advisory Committee about improved quality of service and coverage. He apprised that existing as well as new entrants will participate in the Spectrum Auction. There will be a level playing field so that all operators must have a fair and equal chance in the process, he added.

After detailed discussion, the Advisory Committee approved the DRAFT Policy Directives for the release of NGMS Spectrum in Pakistan, AJK and GB unanimously for improvement of Mobile Broadband services.

The international consultants also participated and answered technical queries by the members of the Committee during the meeting.

 
May 24, 2021 (PR No. 514)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, 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, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, Chairperson CCP, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officers of various Ministries participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar edible oil/ghee, pulses and chicken during the last week. While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that prices of 07 items registered a decline whereas 19 remained stable during the week under review.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research briefed the NPMC about efforts underway to import 04 million metric tons of wheat during the current year to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country. He also apprised about multiple options under consideration for building strategic reserves of wheat throughout the country. The underlying rationale is to ensure steady supply of wheat at affordable prices across the board.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed all respective Provincial administrations to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidized rates without fail, in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.

While reviewing the current price trend of chicken, the representatives of the Provincial governments reported that surge in prices of chicken are driven by the gap in supply and demand. The poultry farmers have suffered losses over the last few months due to COVID-19 related supply disruption and poultry disease which in turn, fuelled poultry prices.

The Finance Minister sought details from the Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan regarding inquiry underway with reference to some anti-competitive conduct that led to price hike in chicken feed, which in turn, increased prices of chicken. The Chairperson apprised that the process will be completed soon and recommendations would be shared with the Provincial governments and departments concerned for appropriate counter-action. The Finance Minister directed to accelerate the whole process. The speed is of essence in drawing findings and taking stern measures to check cartelization, hoarding and undue profiteering effectively, he stressed.

Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production apprised about the current uptick in international prices of soya and palm oils.

Owing to significant volatility in international prices of edible oil, the Finance Minister constituted a sub-committee comprising of the Minister for National Food Security and Research and Minister for Industries and Production to workout a lasting arrangement by exploring alternate options to reduce dependence on import of oil and other basic food items.

The Finance Minister affirmed full support for allocation of funds in the upcoming Budget for upgrading existing research institutions as well as establishing state-of-the art research facilities to suggest alternate high yielding crops to meet increased demand and to curb malnutrition. Pakistan is blessed with four seasons, fertile land and natural resources. There is an increased need for introducing modern techniques to revolutionize the farming sector. The Government is firmly committed to introduce innovation in every sector, he added.

The Finance Minister directed PBS to workout a mechanism and compile gap analysis (differential between wholesale and retail prices) along with weekly SPI for key basic commodities to gauge price variation effectively. This will enable the Provincial governments and all concerned departments to take appropriate administrative measures.

 
May 24, 2021 (PR No. 513)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the consultative meeting with senior representatives of OICCI

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a consultative meeting with senior representatives of Pakistan Business Council, Pak-US Business Council and Overseas Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) held at the Finance Division. Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The Finance Minister welcomed the participants and appreciated the efforts for putting forward proposals for a growth-oriented and business-friendly Budget FY 2021-22.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the Government firmly believes in a Pro-people Budget by following a consultative process with all stakeholders on board. The underlying rationale is to achieve an all-inclusive sustainable economic growth by seeking valuable input from investors, traders and business community.

While speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister underlined that Pakistan has witnessed V-shape recovery amid pandemic due to prudent policies of the Government. The Government has identified 12 sectors, under the banner of Economic Advisory Council (EAC), to formulate short, medium and longterm strategies to achieve an inclusive sustainable economic growth and social development with special focus on agriculture, housing, exports and revenue mobilization.

Commenting on Federal Budget, the Finance Minister assured that the upcoming Budget envisages maximum relief to the common man. The Government will come up with innovative out-of-the-box alternatives to achieve the revenue targets, by providing incentives and facilities, besides broadening the tax base rather than new taxes. There will be no regressive taxation and stern action will be taken against tax evaders, he added.

The Finance Minister directed to constitute a Consultative Committee comprising of representatives of PBC, OICCI and FBR to workout proposals with mutual consultation on regular basis.

Later, the Finance Minister held a virtual meeting with the delegation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) through a video link.

The Finance Minister outlined that Pakistan’s economy is showing signs of recovery amid Coronavirus pandemic, with construction and manufacturing sectors in lead. However, the smart and micro lockdowns during the third wave have posed new challenges. The Government is pursuing a strategy to achieve robust economic growth to benefit under-privileged and middle class for ensuring equal distribution of economic gains across all segments of the society. The Government will encourage self-assessment and incentivize businessmen and traders to pay taxes in line with best international practices.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the suggestions presented during the meetings for Budget preparation would be accorded due consideration. He also assured to have a regular interaction with members of FPCCI and affirmed that all key stakeholders would be taken on board before making important economic decisions.

 
May 21, 2021 (PR No. 512)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, 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 Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Swati, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Alleviation and Social protection Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Chairman BOI, Chairman FBR, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir also participated through a video link.

SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar presented a summary regarding allocation of funds for launching 2nd phase of Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC) program. It was proposed that number of regular Ehsaas Kafalat beneficiaries would be increased and additional beneficiaries would be added (after identification through ongoing NSER) to mitigate economic hardships amid COVID-19 pandemic during the second phase of EEC.

After due deliberations, the ECC recommended the Ehsaas program to evaluate whether the new NSER survey target those sectors which have been adversely affected due to smart and micro lockdowns during COVID-19 and present updated proposal before the Committee. The underlying rationale is to provide targeted subsidies to support the most vulnerable segments of the society during the third wave of the pandemic.

The State Bank of Pakistan presented a summary regarding “Refinance and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Collateral Free Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)” to facilitate SMEs which do not have collateral to get financing from banks. The proposed scheme will enable the SBP to partner with selected banks through a transparent procedure and provide collateral free financing to SMEs to promote sustainable economic growth and development in the country. The ECC approved the summary and directed the SBP to develop a comprehensive monitoring mechanism with clear-cut benchmarks for effective performance evaluation of the scheme.

Secretary Power placed a summary before the Committee for allocation of 3.0 MMCFD gas from well NF Hor-1 (RE) to M/S PPL, for a period of two years, for sale to any third party selected through a competitive bidding process at a mutually agreed and negotiated price under a Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA).  The ECC considered and approved the summary with a direction that such summaries may be dealt at the level of the concerned Ministry / Division after fulfilling all codal formalities.

The ECC evaluated a summary by the Board of Investment (BOI) regarding exemption from minimum Turnover Tax under Special Economic Zones Act 2012 to facilitate both SEZ developers and its enterprises. After detailed discussion, the Committee directed the Law Division, FBR and BOI to firm-up proposals through mutual consultation regarding implementation of the exemption from minimum Turnover Tax and present before the next ECC for requisite approval.

The Ministry of Privatization made a detailed presentation before the ECC regarding grant of National Security Certificate (NSC) and outstanding payables and recoverable issues of Karachi Electric. Federal Minister for Planning and Energy updated the forum about the principles agreed between the Federal Government and the K-Electric to resolve most of their long-standing issues regarding additional supply and payment procedures during the last meeting. The ECC appreciated the efforts made by all concerned and directed to expedite the signing of new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for smooth payment mechanism and uninterrupted power supply to Karachi. The ECC also accorded approval for settlement of issues out of past transactions through Arbitration. The Federal Minister for Energy informed the Committee that new PPA would be signed with the K-Electric soon.

The ECC also considered and approved a summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce about condonation of delay of late shipment of vehicles imported by overseas Pakistanis subject to compliance with all other conditions of import.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants were approved by the ECC:

1.      Rs. 100 million for the Ministry of Defence Production for Project Management Cell for Gwadar Shipyard.

2.      Rs. 3 billion in favor of Government of Gilgit-Baltistan to meet the employee-related expenses.

3.      Rs. 7.2 billion for the Ministry of Housing and Works for the execution of various development schemes.

4.      Rs. 85 million for the Ministry of Industries and Production for meeting necessary expenditure.

5.      Rs. 89.279 million for the Petroleum Division for the supply of gas to Allama Iqbal Industrial City (SEZ).

6.      Rs. 01 billion for the Ministry of Climate Change for the PSDP Project titled “Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program Phase-I”.

7.      Rs. 317 million for the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for meeting the shortfall of funds for purchase of IT equipment by NITB.

8.      Rs. 4.8 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works for the repair and maintenance of Abandoned Property House, Islamabad.

9.      Rs. 96.418 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works for meeting necessary expenses.

10. Rs. 45 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works for National Housing Authority (NEW; Policy and Planning Wing).

11. Rs. 7.5 billion for the Ministry of Railways for Payment of Pay and Pensions dues of employees.

 
May 21, 2021 (PR No. 511)

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

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) meeting today.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The CCoP considered a summary presented by the Secretary, Petroleum Division titled Divestment of Government of Pakistan’s shares in PPL and OGDCL. The forum approved the proposal of the Ministry indicating that divestment of shares is not feasible at this stage and should be considered only once issues like circular debt are resolved, even partially; thereafter, strategic sale to a reputable Exploration & Development (E&P) company would be a preferred option.

The Privatization Division tabled a summary, based on a recommendation of the Privatization Commission Board, regarding provision of funds for hiring of a Financial Advisory Consortium (FAC) of international repute having pertinent experience in the technical, financial, legal and regulatory fields to conduct the transaction of DISCOs and for carrying out an effective communication strategy effectively. The Committee considered and approved the summary.

 
May 18, 2021 (PR No. 510)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting on Farm Gate Pricing

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin held a meeting with SAPM on Food Security Mr. Jamshed Iqbal Cheema on Farm Gate Pricing at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division and Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research also participated in the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the existing farm gate price mechanism and the problems faced by the farmers in transporting the perishable commodities particularly vegetables and fruits to the nearest market or first point of sale. The role of middleman was also discussed during the meeting who makes money at the expense of farmers particularly with small and marginal land holdings.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that achieving economic sustainability is the biggest challenge in the field of agriculture. There is a need to boost farm productivity by facilitating farmers through interest-free agri loans so that they get fair share of their produce. The dominance of middlemen needs to be curtailed effectively. By eliminating the role of middlemen, the growers would get 35-40% higher return of their agricultural produce, he added.

The Finance Minister stressed the need to empower farmers by offering interest-free loans. He discussed modalities for provision of microcredit to farmers enabling them to purchase fertilizers, pesticides and other basic inputs through syndicate of banks and microfinance institutions. The provision of interest-free loans to the small farmers would transform the agricultural sector and end exploitation by the middlemen. The underlying rationale is to pave way towards sustainable farming by offering interest-free loans with maximum flexibility. He directed to work out a mechanism for disbursement of microcredit to farmers with smaller land holdings and discuss in the next meeting.

Finance Minister discussed a multi-dimensional approach to streamline agro-industry. He underlined the need to build commodity warehouses and cold storages facilities for farmers throughout the country, enabling them to transport perishable commodities (kitchen items) to the point of sale in time. He stressed the need for building strategic reserves for essential commodities.
 
May 17, 2021 (PR No. 509)

Petroleum Prices

In order to provide relief to the common man, the Prime Minister has decided to maintain the prices of petroleum products as they were on May 1, 2021 and a fortnight before that. The government has to adjust the Petroleum levy and sales tax as well on SKO and LDO to maintain the same prices.

The government will bear a revenue loss of Rs 2.77 billion for maintaining the same prices.

The prices from May 18 onwards will be as follows:
Ms petrol  Rs.108.56 / liter
HSD. Rs.110.76/liter
SKO. Rs. 80.00/liter
LDO. Rs.77.65/liter

 
May 10, 2021 (PR No. 508)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, 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, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Chairperson CCP and other senior officers of various Ministries participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible oil/ghee, pulses and chicken during the last week. While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that prices of 07 basic commodities registered a decline whereas 26 items remained stable during the week under review.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam updated the NPMC about the wheat procurement drive of the Provinces and PASSCO to ensure steady supply of wheat at fair prices during the current year. He further apprised the NPMC that Punjab is ahead of other Provinces in procurement of wheat to date.

Secretary M/o NFS&R informed the Committee that the summary to import 4 million metric ton wheat would be presented before the next ECC for requisite approval to build strategic reserves and to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed all the Provincial Governments to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidized rates in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister. He strictly urged the representatives of the Provincial Governments to ensure uninterrupted daily release without fail.

While reviewing the price trend of basic commodities in international markets, the NPMC noted that major driver behind increase in prices of items of daily use is massive international price hike due to ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Year-on-Year comparative analysis indicated that price of Crude Oil increased by 178% in April 2021 as compared to April 2020. Similarly, the prices of Sugar in international market increased by 57% in year-on-year comparison. Furthermore, international prices of Palm oil, Soyabeen oil and Wheat also registered a continued upward trend which, in turn, led to sharp increase in prices of basic items in domestic markets.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister stated that COVID-19 crisis has fuelled food prices in international markets especially edible oil, sugar, tea and wheat. The Government is making an all-out effort to ensure smooth supply of basic items through a network of Ramadan Sahaulat / Saasta Bazaars and chain of USCs outlets to ease shortages and mitigate price spike in domestic / local markets.

The Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) presented findings before the Committee regarding completion of recent inquiry in the Poultry Industry. The CCP underlined some anti-competitive conduct that led to surge in prices of Chicken feed, which, in turn, increased prices of Chicken. The Finance Minister stressed that cartelization would not be acceptable at any cost. Stern action would be taken by the Provincial Administrations and Departments concerned to keep the prices of basic commodities in check. All those responsible for undue profiteering or hoarding would be taken to task, he concluded.
 
May 07, 2021 (PR No. 507)

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment called on Minister for Finance and Revenue

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment Muhammad Shahzad Arbab at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division and Deputy Chairman Planning were also present during the meeting.


Members of the Prime Minister’s Reforms Team made a detailed presentation on “Concept of Performance Agreement” regarding working of Federal Ministries and Divisions.


The Performance Agreement underlines the key objectives, goals and benchmarks to be achieved by a concerned Ministry / Division during the financial year. The Performance Agreements for the FY / 2020-21 have been introduced to enable Ministries to set key targets and measure performance against them effectively.

Adviser to the PM on Establishment stated that the Government must be given due credit for introducing the concept of performance evaluation. The said system promotes sense of ownership among the Ministers and Secretaries to ensure smooth service delivery in their respective Ministries / Division / Departments / Organizations.

The Finance Minister commended the efforts of the Adviser to the PM and his team and urged to apply the concept of Performance Agreements to all the Ministries across the board. He also stressed the importance of conducting quarterly reviews and requisite follow-ups to gauge performance on regular basis. This will help a Ministry / Division to evaluate its performance for meeting annual goals / benchmarks effectively.
 
May 07, 2021 (PR No. 506)

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

Chairperson Pay and Pension Commission Ms. Nargis Sethi called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. SA PM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood Khan and Secretary Finance Division were also present during the meeting.

The Chairperson Pay and Commission briefed the Finance Minister about the working of the Pay and Pension Commission to streamline the existing pay and pension structure as per the mandate of the Commission. She outlined the working of sub-groups under the Commission which have been assigned different tasks to identify distortions in the existing system of disbursement of pay and pensions of the Government officers in Federal, Provincial and other allied departments and organizations.

The Chairperson also apprised the Finance Minister about challenges in the way of harmonization of Pay and Pension system across the country which includes disparity in allowances, perks and other benefits as well as burgeoning expenditure of the pensions on national exchequer which is not sustainable in the long run, she added.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister appreciated the efforts being made by the Pay and Pension Commission for streamlining the prevailing system of emoluments based on principles of equity, fairness and transparency. He directed to chalk out short, medium and long term plans for reformation of pay and pension system in the public sector over a period of time. There is no short term solution to this problem, he stressed. The end goal is to make the government employer of choice for the talented youth. There is an increased need to work out ranges for linking compensation with performance. This will ensure meritocracy in recruitment and result in improved service delivery in the public sector.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that there is a pressing need to rationalize the existing workforce and adhere to a performance-driven compensation system for smooth transition to e-governance. He affirmed full support and facilitation to the Commission on the occasion.
 
May 06, 2021 (PR No. 505)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting on Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over a meeting on Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Governor State Bank Dr. Reza Baqir and other senior officers also participated in the meeting.

During the meeting, the tiers of Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) program were reviewed with a view to ensure maximum flexibility in provision of loans with minimum administrative costs. Due diligence will be exercised with a key focus to offer subsidized loans to young entrepreneurs for self-employment schemes. The Kamyab Kissan project was also discussed during the meeting which will be placed under the banner of Kamyab Jawan Program.

The Finance Minister stressed to chalk out Kamyab Kissan Program to extend credit facility to farmers across the board. It will promote youth engagement and employment in the agriculture sector.

The Finance Minister stated that Kamyab Kissan Program will revolutionize the agricultural productivity and usher in a new era in agro-based industrial progress.
 
May 06, 2021 (PR No. 504)

Vice President of ICAP called on Minister for Finance and Revenue

Vice President of “The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan” (ICAP), Mr. Ashfaq Tola called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin here at the Finance Division today to present proposals on “Model Federal Budget 21-22”. SA PM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan and Mr Ali Latif, Vice President ICAP were also present during the meeting.

The Finance Minister welcomed the Vice President ICAP Mr. Ashfaq Tola and discussed the proposals by the ICAP team for the economic growth and development of the country. The Minister lauded the professional insight of the members of the ICAP and their valuable contribution.

The Vice President ICAP briefed the Minister about the sector-wise Budget Proposals prepared by the Advisory Committee of the ICAP for the first time. The Model Budget Paper included recommendations for widening the tax net, increasing per capita income, managing the non-tax income, measures on domestic and foreign debt management and rationalizing the pension expenditure. The Vice President also appreciated the housing initiative of the Federal Government to boost economic activity and suggested ways & means to extend the outreach.

The Finance Minister commended the efforts made by ICAP’s Advisory Committee in working out the Budget proposals and reiterated firm commitment for formulation of a growth-oriented budget by following a participatory approach. The underlying rationale is to take all stakeholders on board for evolving consensus and coming up with innovative ideas to overcome economic challenges.

The VP ICAP felicitated the Finance Minister on assuming new responsibilities and extended invite to be a Chief Guest at ICAP webinars and also presented the Coffee Table Book on the occasion.
 
May 06, 2021 (PR No. 503)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting to finalize modalities for disbursement of targeted subsidies

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, convened a meeting to finalize modalities for disbursement of targeted subsidies at the Finance Division today. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood were also present during the meeting.

SAPM on Social Protection Alleviation briefed the Finance Minister about different proposals which are under consideration for replacing the untargeted subsidies with the targeted ones in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister to facilitate the under-privileged with more focused and extended coverage.

Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity and SAPM on Finance and Revenue deliberated on modalities for disbursement of subsidies at the point of sale including local convenience stores / Kiryaans shops.

 The Finance Minister directed to keep in view, the convenience of beneficiaries as points of sale are located at distant locations in far-flung areas. He directed SAPM on Finance and Revenue and SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation to work out a well-rounded proposal for providing targeted subsidies with firm timelines for onward submission before the Cabinet.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that Government is firmly committed to pro-poor agenda and supports economic empowerment of the under-privilege women through Ehsaas safety net. The primary objective is poverty alleviation, socio-economic uplift and financial inclusion of women from marginalized sections of the society.
 
May 05, 2021 (PR No. 502)

Chief Minister GB met with Minister for Finance and Revenue

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin held a meeting here at the Finance Division with Mr. Muhammad Khalid Khurseed, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan. Finance Minister Gilgit Baltistan Mr. Javed Manwa and Chief Secretary Gilgit Baltistan Mr. Asif Daman also accompanied the Chief Minister during the meeting.

The Federal Finance Minister welcomed the Chief Minister GB and his team and stated that the development of Gilgit Baltistan is the key priority of the Government under the GB Development Package. The Government intends to undertake several projects for hydel power generation, enhancing tourism connectivity and imparting vocational training and granting scholarships for the youth. The Finance Minister affirmed full support and facilitation for the aforesaid Package on the occasion.

The Chief Minister GB and his team also discussed budget proposals during the meeting. While appreciating the active participation of the federating units, the Finance Minister reiterated that the consultative process for Budget making process will bring out positive outcomes and lead the way for concerted efforts towards all-inclusive growth.
 
May 05, 2021 (PR No. 501)

Her Excellency Ms. Angela P. Aggeler, Charge d' Affaires of the United States to Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

Her Excellency Ms. Angela P. Aggeler, Charge d’ Affaires of the United States to Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. Secretary Finance Division was also present during the meeting.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Ms. Angela Aggeler, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan and the US enjoy long-term, broad-based and multi- dimensional relationship. Bilateral relations between the two countries have further strengthened due to people-to-people ties, economic and business linkages as well as common interests in promoting peace and stability in the region, he added.

The Finance Minister further stated that Pakistan is looking forward to further deepen trade and investment ties with the US under the new administration. Coupled with 220 million consumer market, growing middle class and a young vibrant population, Pakistan offers immense opportunities for the US enterprises to invest in sectors such as Information Technology, Agriculture, Energy and tourism. Strong bilateral relations would, inturn, facilitate closer economic cooperation between the two countries, he added.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government in implementing vital economic reforms and achieving macro-economic stability to build a better future for the people of Pakistan.

Her Excellency Ms. Angela Aggeler congratulated the Finance Minister on assuming the office and assured the Finance Minister of full support of the US Government and its people to the Government of Pakistan during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She appreciated the Prime Minister’s focus on geo-economics. Economic growth drives everything else, she stated, and added that a number of US companies were looking for business and economic opportunities in Pakistan.
 
May 04, 2021 (PR No. 500)

Finance Minister for KP and Punjab called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

Finance Minister for Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP) Mr. Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance Division Kamran Ali Afzal were also present during the meeting.

The Provincial Finance Minister from KP briefed the Finance Minister about efforts undertaken by the Provincial government to curtail expenditure and rationalize spending with a key focus on providing maximum relief to the masses amid COVID-19 pandemic. He also outlined measures taken to enhance provincial tax collection by expanding tax base and reducing the number of taxes.

The Provincial Finance Minister KP further apprised about commitment of the KP Government to streamline pay and pension expenditure which takes the biggest chunk of the overall Budget.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Tarin urged the Provincial administration to adhere to strict financial discipline and work out modalities to rationalize expenditure and divert savings towards socio-economic development in the Province particularly amid COVID-19 and in post COVID-Scenario. He stressed to stimulate economic activity through out-of-box thinking for enhancing revenues, rationalizing workforce and harmonizing tax structure aiming at improving service delivery in the Province.

While discussing Budget proposals, the Federal Finance Minister stressed that Education and Health are the key priority areas and must be given preference during the Budget making exercise. He encouraged consultative process between the Federal Government and Federating units for effective resource mobilization.

Later, Finance Minister for Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht also called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division.

The Provincial Finance Minister briefed the Federal Finance Minister about the overall fiscal position and upcoming Budget considerations during the meeting. He highlighted the steps taken by the Punjab Government to provide maximum relief to the vulnerable segments of the society during these testing times. He spelled out the vision and commitment of the Punjab Government to increase revenues, control expenditure, job creation, reduction of poverty and facilitating agriculture, Industrial and service sectors to tap true potential of these sectors for an export-led growth.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister emphasized the need for value-addition in Budget making exercise. He urged the Provincial Finance Minister to rationalize expenditure and harmonize taxation policies for a growth-oriented Budget.

The Finance Minister held meetings with the Provincial Finance Ministers as a part of an overall consultative process with key stakeholders including Provinces to seek valuable inputs for formulation of a people friendly growth-oriented Budget.

 
May 04, 2021 (PR No. 499)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, held a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary EAD and other senior officers also participated in the meeting.

Secretary EAD briefed the Finance Minister about the ongoing foreign funding portfolio with bilateral and multilateral development partners.

While reviewing the foreign funding portfolio, the Finance Minister outlined the priority areas for financial and technical support. He emphasized the need for financing Agricultural Package which will include provision of commodity warehousing, cold storage facilities and Irrigation water management to strengthen infrastructure for boosting agricultural productivity.

Similarly, foreign funding would be utilized for supporting Social Protection and Skill Development programs to protect under-privileged groups of the society and to empower youth by imparting valuable skills. It will also include swift processing of microcredit loans for youth empowerment.

The Finance Minister further directed to focus on strengthening civil amenities such as provision of clean drinking water, solid waste management and other such facilities in under-developed areas. He expressed firm commitment of the Government for socio-economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the people of Pakistan.

The Finance Minister reiterated that Government will make all necessary interventions in collaboration with international development partners for human resource development and socio-economic uplift of the nation.

 
May 03, 2021 (PR No. 498)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, 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, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary M/o Industries  and Production, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken and vegetables during the last week. While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that prices of 09 basic commodities registered a decline whereas 30 items remained stable during the week under review.

In compliance with the earlier directions of the Finance Minister, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics updated the Committee about data collection methodology and presented a detailed working regarding disparity between wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities. After due deliberation, the NPMC directed PBS to further review its data collection methodology to reflect variation between wholesale and retail levels for basic commodities across different cities accurately. The Finance Minister also directed PBS to ensure that data must represent and reflect prevailing prices trends including prices prevailing in Ramadan Saastaa/Sahulat Bazars for wide coverage.


The Secretary, M/o NFS&R apprised the Committee about sufficient availability of wheat stocks across the country. He also briefed about arrangements underway to import wheat for building strategic reserves and to ensure steady supply during the current year. A summary will be presented before next ECC for requisite approval in this regard, he added.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister urged all the Provincial Governments to ensure daily release of wheat on subsidized rates in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister to keep the prices of wheat flour bags in check.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister directed the respective Provincial administrations and concerned departments for strict monitoring of prices of basic commodities and ensure availability of sufficient stocks of basic commodities to provide relief to the consumers on the special occasion of Eid. Keeping in view the arrival of Eid, the Finance Minister stressed coordinated and consolidated efforts by all concerned to check undue profiteering and price hike to facilitate masses during the last week of Ramadan.

 
May 03, 2021 (PR No. 497)

Chairman, Board of Investment (BOI) called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

Chairman, Board of Investment (BOI) Mr. Atif Bokhari called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division today.

The Chairman briefed the Finance Minister on working of BOI as a lead agency which is responsible for Investment Promotion, Investment Protection and Investment facilitation in the country. BOI acts as an interface between local and international investors, public and private sectors and promotes trade and investment through policy and strategic interventions. The role of BOI has become more important than ever to attract and retain investment amid COVID-19 and in post-COVID scenario, he added.

The major initiative of BOI is improvement in Ease of Doing Business (EODB) in which Pakistan advanced 28 places to attain 108th position during 2020. BOI spearheaded the reform process. BOI introduced a series of reforms to streamline areas such as starting a business, getting construction permits, registering property, getting electricity, paying taxes and trading across the borders. Pakistan registered significant improvement in 06 key indicators which eventually led to improvement in overall ranking.

The Chairman apprised about Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI) to make Pakistan’s businesses competitive by reducing compliance burden. The idea behind PRMI is to introduce Smart Regulation.

The Chairman also updated the Finance Minister about significant progress made in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) on the occasion. The BOI is leading the development of SEZs by collaborating with all the government organizations at the Federal and Provincial levels, for the provision of infrastructure and utilities to operationalize these zones. This will help in stimulating economic activity in under-developed areas and create massive employment opportunities for the youth.

The Finance Minister commended the facilitation model adopted by BOI and assured full support and facilitation for creating conducive business environment to transform Pakistan into one of the top investment destinations as envisaged by the Prime Minister.

 
May 03, 2021 (PR No. 496)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting of Sub-Committee of Economic Advisory Council (EAC)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of Sub-Committee of Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on Agriculture held at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Food Security Jamshaid Cheema as well as private members Mr. Amer Aziz, Mr. Mansoor Arfeen, Mr. Aftab Anwar, Mr. Saadat Ejaz and Mr. Arif Nadeem also participated in the meeting.

The Sub-Committee on Agriculture reviewed the entire food supply chain from farmer to end-consumer for minimizing the price differential between wholesale and retail prices of basic commodities. The key focus is to work out a regulatory mechanism to ensure that the farmer gets a fair share and undue profiteering is curtailed effectively.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that Agriculture plays a central role in our economy and the Government is focused on transforming this sector. There is a need to re-visit the farm-to-end-consumer chain by removing bottlenecks in farm labour, processing, transport and logistics. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation particularly challenging due to disruptions on supply side, he added.

The Finance Minister directed the members of the Sub-Committee to work out and present holistic proposals during the next meeting. He encouraged the members to come up with innovative ideas to ensure price stability in key commodities of daily use.
 
April 30, 2021 (PR No. 495)

POL Prices

In line with the vision of the Prime Minister to provide relief to the consumers in the holy month of Ramazan, the Government has decided not to increase the prices of the petroleum products. The implementation of this proposal requires an adjustment in the rates of petroleum levy on all petroleum products and a reduction in sales tax as well in case of kerosene oil and light diesel oil. It is pertinent to mention that the Government was not charging any Petroleum Levy (PL) on Kerosene and light diesel oil. The cumulative revenue impact of the decision will be Rs. 4.8 billion.

The prices of petroleum products w.e.f 1st May 2021 are as follows:

MS Petrol

Rs.108.56/liter

High Speed Diesel

Rs. 110.76/liter

Kerosene oil

Rs. 80.00/liter

Light Diesel Oil

Rs. 77.65/liter

 
April 30, 2021 (PR No. 494)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a virtual meeting with Vice President South Asia Region, World Bank Group

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, held a virtual meeting with Mr. Hartwig Schafer, Vice President South Asia Region, World Bank Group at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Power Division and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Vice President, World Bank expressed concerns over resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic during the third wave in South Asia and the alarming increase in the number of active infections and corresponding fatalities.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister apprised that the third wave of COVID-19 is particularly challenging as Pakistan is going for an aggressive smart lockdown to curtail the spread of virus across the country.

While reviewing the progress on ongoing World Bank’s projects and programs, the Secretary Power Division underlined that Pakistan is pursuing policy of targeted subsidies in the Power sector. The Government is firmly committed to subsidy rationalization (in phases) for bringing efficiency and improving service delivery, he added.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister said that the Government’s focus would be on socio-economic development, better financial management, building resilient institutions, reforming energy sector, strengthening social sector and enhancing revenue generation during these testing times, he added.

The World Bank appreciated the Government’s relief initiatives to curtail the impact of COVID-19 effectively and reiterated continuous support to the Government and people of Pakistan during the ongoing third wave.
 
April 30, 2021 (PR No. 493)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired with meeting of EAC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the sub-committee of Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Privatization, held at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Secretary Privatization as well as private members Mr. Arif Habib and Mr. Sultan Ali Allana participated in the meeting.

The Sub-committee reviewed the portfolio of State-Owned enterprises (SOEs) for Privatization on basis of strategic importance, performance, efficiency and profitability to suggest a way forward. The members deliberated over the Triage Policy of the Government and discussed the cross-cutting issues related to financial and human resource management in this regard.

Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, Private member stated that Privatization is a complex subject matter which poses significant challenges.

Federal Minister for Privatization and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity updated the Sub-Committee about progress made with reference to Privatization of SOEs to date.  They also apprised the Finance Minister about various legal and administrative challenges in the way of Privatization process related to different entities.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister underlined the need to accelerate the pace of Privatization for bringing efficiency and competitiveness in operations of SOEs. He emphasized to empower and strengthen the Board of Directors of the respective SOEs so that they can take firm decisions to improve management of these entities. This proactive approach would ensure that unnecessary delays in Privatization due to multiple stakeholders are prevented.

          In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the Government is fully cognizant of its responsibilities and will adopt a consultative and collaborative approach to complete the whole Privatization exercise with due diligence and fairness.
 
April 30, 2021 (PR No. 492)

Minister for Finance and Revenue met with the delegration of FPCCI

A delegation of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) held a meeting with the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division through a video link. Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

While addressing the meeting, the Finance Minister briefed the participants about the economic priorities of the Government. He also outlined that the Government is adhering to strict financial discipline for achieving macro-economic stability and enhancing revenue generation. The Minister also outlined that Pakistan’s economy is showing signs of recovery amid Coronavirus pandemic, with construction and manufacturing sectors in lead. However, the third wave of COVID-19 is particularly challenging, he added.

 The Minister also stressed the role of Chambers of Commerce and Industry as a bridge between the Government and the traders for active coordination and welcomed suggestions from the members of FPCCI on the occasion.

The representatives of FPCCI felicitated the Finance Minister on assuming new responsibilities and discussed the matters related to sales tax harmonization and rationalization of taxes.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the suggestions presented during the meeting would be accorded due consideration. He also assured to have a regular interaction with members of FPCCI and affirmed that all key stakeholders would be taken on board before making important economic decisions.
 
April 30, 2021 (PR No. 491)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting with the representatives of OICCI and PBC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired a meeting with the representatives of Overseas Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) and Pakistan Business Council (PBC) here at the Finance Division.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood also participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister stated that Government is firmly committed to providing incentives to business community which are targeted and sustainable in the long run. The end goal is to achieve an all-inclusive sustainable economic growth which leads to industrialization, employment generation, export-led growth and import substitution, he added.

Later, a delegation of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR Asim Ahmad and other senior officers also participated in the meeting.

Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Mr. Khurram Mukhtar commended the recent measures taken by the Government to facilitate businessmen and exporters amid COVID-19 pandemic. He specifically lauded the fully automated system of FBR for disbursement of refunds in an expeditious manner.

The Finance Minister reiterated the commitment of the Government to facilitate textile sector for enhancing value-added exports. He stressed the need for consolidating fragmented businesses and promoting value-added exports on competitive basis internationally.

The Finance Minister further stated that Government believes in building a strong partnership with businessmen, traders and exporters for evolving a roadmap through consultative process for a sustained and robust export-led growth, he concluded.

The Finance Minister affirmed full support and cooperation on the occasion.
 
April 29, 2021 (PR No. 490)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of Advisory Committee (NGMS) Spectrum

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Advisory Committee for the release of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) Spectrum at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary IT & Telecommunication, Secretary Law & Justice Division, Chairman PTA, Executive Director Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The Chairman PTA briefed the Advisory Committee about the arrangements underway for the sale of available Spectrum of Next Generation Mobile Services in the country. A detailed presentation was made about the specifications of available spectrum bands and methodology for sale in line with international best practices. The newly hired consultants also gave a detailed input and answered the technical queries by the members of the Committee.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed to expedite the sale process for the available spectrum. He stressed to provide a level playing field so that all operators must have a fair and equal chance in the process. He urged all the key stakeholders to ensure maximum participation across the board for successful completion of the sale transaction, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said that international benchmarks must be followed to ensure the whole process of sale is competitive and based on principles of transparency and equity.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce suggested an in-depth analysis to gauge demand for Spectrum and devise a strategy for its pricing and packaging accordingly.

The Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication stated that the sale of NGMS is of key importance for strengthening and expanding communication / IT Services across the country.

After due deliberations, the Advisory Committee approved the recommendations for the sale of NGMS during the meeting.

 
April 29, 2021 (PR No. 489)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of Steering Committee for Pakistan Single Window

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the Steering Committee for Pakistan Single Window at the Finance Division today. SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood was also present during the meeting.

Member Customs, FBR updated the Finance Minister on the progress made regarding implementation of the first phase of the Pakistan Single Window (PSW).

Project Director (PSW), FBR outlined the efforts underway to integrate PSW with majority of banks, NADRA and other concerned departments.

While reviewing the progress on PSW, the Finance Minister stated that time is of essence in meeting targets for timely execution. He urged senior representatives of FBR and departments concerned to make an all-out effort for completion of this highly transformational project which will pave way for ease in imports and exports. It is a landmark reform that will create a conducive environment for trade and investment by streamlining cargo clearance and other allied processes.

The digitization of regulatory processes of relevant government departments will also reduce loss of revenue due to under-valuation and mis-declarations thereby improving transparency and promoting Ease of Doing Business, he added.

The Finance Minister also approved the procedural matters and urged to accelerate the whole process on the occasion.

Among others, Joint Secretaries of Ministries of Maritime Affairs, Commerce, National Health Services & Regulation, Science and Technology, Cabinet Division, National Food Security and Research and Secretary, Board of Investment were also present during the meeting.

 
April 28, 2021 (PR No. 488)

77th Session of UNESCAP

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, delivered remarks on behalf of Pakistan at a virtual event held on the sidelines of the 77th session of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) titled “Debt Relief in the Aftermath of the Pandemic: How can Regional Dialogue help”.

In his virtual remarks, the Finance Minister apprised the august forum about the economic challenges faced by Pakistan due to COVID-19 pandemic. Due to precarious economic situation in 2018, Government of Pakistan had to opt for IMF program to fix balance of payments crisis. Pakistan successfully met all benchmarks during first performance review criteria. All fundamental economic indicators reflected significant improvement before the onset of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 shock resulted in considerable economic contraction leading to loss of livelihoods, disruption in supply lines and limited economic activity during partial lockdowns.

To lessen the severe impact on the economy, the Government of Pakistan introduced largest ever economic stimulus package for SMEs to shield against insolvency and facilitated Construction sector & allied industries to stimulate growth during testing times. 16 million families were given direct cash transfers under Ehsaas program which roughly accounts for 46% the total population of Pakistan in order to protect the most vulnerable segments of the society, he added.

The Finance Minister further stated that, at present, Pakistan has resumed the IMF program and is faced with a difficult choice to strike a balance between need for fiscal consolidation and ever rising demand for economic stimulus amid COVID-19 and in post-COVID scenario.

The third wave of COVID-19 is particularly challenging and Pakistan needs support of development partners to stimulate recovery. Our economy is showing nascent signs of economic recovery as Large Scale Manufacturing is posting significant growth but there is a need to continue this momentum which is not possible without external support.

The Finance Minister of Maldives as well as high level delegates from Mongolia and Kyrgyz Republic also participated during the session. The other delegates highlighted the need for evolving a mechanism to provide maximum debt relief to the developing and under-developed countries which are facing fiscal constraints and liquidity crises during the Pandemic. The session concluded that there is a need for continued regional dialogue to learn from country experiences and thereby face challenges posed by pandemic in a better manner.

 
April 28, 2021 (PR No. 487)

Minister for Finance and Revenue presided a meeting on tariff rationalization

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, presided over a meeting on tariff rationalization at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR, Special Secretary Commerce, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Member Customs and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

The Ministry of Commerce made a detailed presentation on current tariff structure and updated the Finance Minister on tariff rationalization measures and its role in enhancing economic activities in the country.

The Finance Minister stated that tariff rationalization is a pressing need of the time. Rationalizing tariff structure must aim at broadening and strengthening Industrial base and contribute towards overall economic growth. A dynamic tariff structure is vital for export-led industrialization and improves competitiveness of domestic industry, he added.
 
April 28, 2021 (PR No. 486)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of ECC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet today.

Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Railways Azam Swati, Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Federal Secretaries, Chairman BOI, Chairman SECP and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir joined through a video link.

Power Division submitted a summary regarding the release of subsidy for the supply of 100% RLNG to Export Oriented Industry for the month of March 2020. The ECC approved the summary and decided to form a sub-committee consisting of Adviser to PM on Commerce, SAPM on Power and other relevant stakeholders to review the power subsidies provided to export oriented sectors, with a direction to submit a holistic proposal before the ECC.

Power Division presented another summary before the Committee regarding release of the first instalment of payment to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The ECC constituted a sub-committee chaired by the Federal Minister for Finance, comprising Ministers and Secretaries from Energy, Petroleum and other concerned Ministries for further deliberations. The sub-committee would present a firmed-up proposal before the next ECC for consideration and approval.

The following Technical Supplementary Grants were approved by the ECC:

·          Rs. 22.7 million for the Law and Justice Division for meeting the shortfall of funds under various administrative and related heads.

·          Rs. 10.025 million in favour of the Ministry of Human Rights to fund the National Trust for the Disabled (NTD), Islamabad.

·          Rs. 7.2 million in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works for the execution of development schemes of the Interior Division.

·          Lastly, Rs. 262 million in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works for meeting various necessary expenses.

 
April 27, 2021 (PR No. 485)

Chairman K-Electric called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue,

Chairman K-Electric Mr. Shan A. Ashary along with Mr. Khaqan Khan, Member Board of Director and CEO K-Electric Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at Finance Division today.

The Chairman briefed the Finance Minister about operations of K-Electric as the main power utility, meeting the electricity requirements of the Karachi city. He apprised the Finance Minister about the challenges being faced by K-Electric during the meeting.

The Finance Minister stated that the Government is ready to extend all possible support to the K-Electric for overcoming constraints and making it dynamic and sustainable in the long-run.

 
April 27, 2021 (PR No. 484)

Senior PTI Leader / Former Special Assistant to the PM on Youth Affairs called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue

Senior PTI Leader / Former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Mr. Usman Dar called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today.

During the meeting, Mr. Usman Dar briefed the Finance Minister about youth-focused development initiatives taken by the Government in spheres of education, employment and civic engagement. He highlighted “Kamyab Jawan Program” which offers subsidized loans to young entrepreneurs for self-employment schemes. The program will uplift the youth by offering opportunities to utilize their entrepreneurial potential to the fullest, he added.

Mr. Dar also underlined the special measures for provision of modern education to the youth of the country. Government has launched a Skill Development program to impart technical and vocational training to the youth to enhance employment opportunities for them. The Finance Minister lauded the above-mentioned initiatives aimed at facilitating socio-economic empowerment of youth as envisaged by the Prime Minister.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that youth plays a pivotal role in the development of the country. There is an increased need to invest in youth and prepare them to meet future challenges effectively.

Earlier, Ms. Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan and Syed Samar Hussain, Director State Bank of Pakistan gave a detailed presentation to Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, on “Kamyab Jawan Program” through a videolink.

The Deputy Governor, SBP outlined the salient features of the Program for provision of subsidized business financing. The Program has been developed to provide self-employment opportunities to unemployed youth and contribute towards Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) growth.

The Finance Minister appreciated the rationale & loan disbursement policy of the program and recommended to enhance the outreach by involving microfinance banks/institutions as these institutions have special expertise for catering to those segments of population which do not have enough collateral to obtain credit. He directed SBP to workout modalities and present a detailed plan for further deliberations. The Minister also endorsed the idea for providing small loans to the farmers, enabling them to boost agricultural productivity.

The Finance Minister appreciated the ideas for empowering youth and assured his full support and facilitation for the aforesaid projects/initiatives on the occasion.
 
April 27, 2021 (PR No. 483)

DG (FMU) briefed the Minister for Finance and Revenue about the significant progress made on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plan

Ms. Lubna Farooq Malik, Director General, Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) briefed the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, about the significant progress made on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plan at the Finance Division today.

DG (FMU) highlighted various measures that the Government of Pakistan has taken to strengthen Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime in line with the international best practices. She also apprised the Finance Minister that FATF had acknowledged Pakistan’s performance in its last plenary held in February 2021.

The Finance Minister expressed his satisfaction over the significant headway across all the areas of the action plan and further resolved to continue efforts for timely completion of the remaining parts of the FATF action plan.

 
April 26, 2021 (PR No. 482)

British High Commissioner to Pakistan called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

His Excellency Dr. Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, at the Finance Division today. Secretary Finance Division and Secretary EAD were also present during the meeting.

While extending a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Christian Turner, the Finance Minister stated that Pakistan attaches special importance to bilateral relations with the United Kingdom and affirmed to further strengthen economic and business linkages between the two countries. The Finance Minister also thanked the High Commissioner for the support extended by the British government and its people for the people of Pakistan during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister apprised the High Commissioner about working of flagship Ehsaas Emergency Cash program regarding direct cash transfers to under-privileged women. The Ehsaas program has played a significant role in mitigating the economic hardships of the marginalized groups of the society amid COVID-19. The Finance Minister also underlined the various measures taken by the Government to stimulate economic recovery during these testing times. He commended the Pakistani diaspora abroad for sending in record remittances which enhanced the foreign exchange reserves and strengthened Pak-Rupee. The Pakistani diaspora in the United Kingdom are the real asset for the country, he added.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the Government in implementing vital economic reforms and achieving macro-economic stability with the help of development partners to build a better future for the people of Pakistan.

His Excellency Mr. Christian Turner discussed the issues of mutual interest and assured the Finance Minister of the full support of the British Government and its people to the Government and people of Pakistan. He also felicitated the Finance Minister on assuming new responsibilities on the occasion.

 
April 26, 2021 (PR No. 481)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting of NPMC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division today.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, 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 Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Joint Secretary M/o Industries and Production, MD Utility Stores Corporation, senior representatives of the Provincial governments, Member PBS and other senior officers of Finance Division participated in the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the price trends of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken, eggs and vegetables during the last week. The Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about the decline in weekly SPI by 0.40% whereas prices of 13 items recorded a decline and 26 items remained stable. Price of essential commodities including tomatoes, onions, sugar, potatoes and poultry were reduced during the week under review.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics briefed the Finance Minister about data collection methodology and updated on the recent changes incorporated to reflect price variation between wholesale and retail levels across different cities. The Finance Minister emphasized to extend the market coverage by including more cities and local areas including Ramadan Saasta/Sahulat  Bazaars. The data must represent and reflect prevailing price trends accurately, he stressed.

The Finance Minister also directed to review the entire supply chain from farmer to end-consumer for minimising difference between wholesale and retail prices for basic commodities with a view to ensure that farmer is paid well and consumer gets the maximum relief.

During the meeting, the Finance Minister sought briefing from the representatives of the Provincial Governments regarding efficacy of Ramadan Saasta Bazaars which have been setup to provide maximum relief to the masses during the holy month. The Provincial administrations reported that by and large, the response has been very encouraging as people were making regular purchases and taking benefit of reduced prices of basic commodities.

The Finance Minister urged the respective Provincial Administrations to chalkout a firm plan for strict monitoring of prices and availability of stock of basic commodities at Ramadan Saasta Bazaars to facilitate general public in Eid shopping which largely takes place during the last week of Ramadan. He further directed the Provincial Governments to keep the prices of basic commodities in check during the Eid holidays.

The MD, USC updated the NPMC that all basic commodities are well-stocked across the chain of USC outlets including wheat flour, sugar, ghee and pulses (at subsidized prices) in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister. The MD further informed that maximum buying across USC outlets takes place during the second half of the day. He requested the general public to visit Utility Stores outlets during morning hours to avoid large queues.

The Finance Minister stressed the need to ensure availability of basic commodities at USCs throughout the country and urged people to benefit from the Mobile Utility Stores facility amid COVID-19 pandemic.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister underscored the importance of maintaining strategic reserves of essential commodities and directed the Provincial governments and departments concerned to work out estimates and procure wheat and sugar in a smooth and timely manner.

 
April 22, 2021 (PR No. 480)

Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the first session of the EAC

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the first session of the EAC after its re-constitution at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR, Chairman BOI and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir participated as official members. The EAC meeting was also attended by the leading representatives from the private corporate sector.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister welcomed all the official and private members and emphasized the importance of evolving consensus on macro-economic stabilization measures and reform agenda for an inclusive and sustained economic growth after taking all stakeholders on board. The EAC will follow a consultative process and suggest policy initiatives to optimize and further strengthen the financial and economic policies aimed at enhancing public welfare.

The Finance Minister formulated sub-groups and assigned areas for further deliberation and directed to firm-up proposals after seeking input from all concerned. The Finance Minister emphasized to present short, medium and long-term plans with respective timelines for an effective way forward. The EAC will meet frequently and members would present recommendations before the Committee for detailed discussion.

The SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood made a detailed presentation and outlined key priority areas for productive discussion including sustained and inclusive economic growth, employment generation, price stability mechanism, tax reforms, Housing sector, Ease of Doing Business, pension reforms, rationalization of subsidies, food security, revamping power and energy sectors, social protection network, health and improvement in overall governance.

The Federal Ministers briefed the Committee about the initiatives taken and progress made in their respective areas.

The private members of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) also gave their valuable input regarding strengthening Blue economy, need for road-to-market infrastructure development, import substitution, mechanized farming, gender-sensitive employment initiatives, harmonising tax and tariff structures, climate change, SMEs, and streamlining circular debt and other power related issues.

The Finance Minister appreciated the innovative ideas given by the members and emphasized active participation of key stakeholders in evolving consensus for sound economic planning. He underscored importance of Provincial participation in concerned areas for working out holistic solutions to the current economic problems.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that EAC is a well-informed and well-represented forum comprising of official and private representatives. There is a need to instil confidence and build public sentiment for sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth. He hoped that collective decision-making would help in putting an end to repeated boom-and-bust cycles which played havoc with our national economy over the years.

 
April 20, 2021 (PR No. 479)

SA to PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety / Chairperson BISP called on the Minister for Finance and Revenue

Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety / Chairperson BISP called on the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division today.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance Division also participated in the meeting.

The SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety / Chairperson BISP briefed the Finance Minister about working of flagship Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program regarding direct cash transfers to under-privileged women amid COVID-19 pandemic. At present, the program provides Rs. 12,000/- each to more than 15 million deserving families.

The SAPM also outlined the provision of subsidies for Ehsaas beneficiaries through a chain of Utility Stores outlets across Pakistan and local grocery stores. The underlying rationale is to support the under-privileged and marginalized households through targeted subsidization policy with focus on poverty reduction and women empowerment.

The Finance Minister commended Ehsaas program as one of the largest social protection programs in the world which is critically acclaimed by the development partners including IMF, WB and ADB. Pakistan’s landmark Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has played a significant role in mitigating the economic hardships of the marginalized groups of the society.

The Finance Minister affirmed support and facilitation to Ehsaas program and urged to replace untargeted subsidies with targeted ones to make it more sustainable in the long run.

 
April 20, 2021 (PR No. 478)

Minister for Finance and Revenue held a virtual meeting with Managing Director (Operations), World Bank

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmad Tarin, held a virtual meeting with Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg, Managing Director (Operations), World Bank at the Finance Division today.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Power Muhammad Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Power, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Chairman FBR and other senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir joined through a video link.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister stated that the World Bank has always been a source of support in pursuing reform agenda and implementing various development projects for the country. He acknowledged the longstanding partnership and firm commitment of the World Bank as a major development partner for bringing essential reforms in priority areas including energy, fiscal & debt management and socio-economic development.

The Finance Minister shared a brief overview of the current economic situation and outlined several initiatives taken to accelerate economic recovery during COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan converted Current Account Deficit into surplus by adhering to a strict financial discipline. He also highlighted measures to be taken for effective resource mobilization, enhancing productivity and strengthening financial management in future. The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the government in undertaking reforms to achieve macroeconomic stability, build fiscal resilience and stimulate economic recovery amid COVID-19 and in post COVID scenario.

The Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar briefed about the efforts underway in the energy sector for bringing efficiency into the system by eliminating inefficient power plants to improve service delivery.

The SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar underlined the reforms introduced in the power sector to make it dynamic and sustainable. He reiterated Government’s firm resolve in achieving efficiency in production as well as transmission of electricity.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division updated the World Bank MD on steps being taken to build resilient institutions as well as investment in human capital.

The MD, World Bank reiterated support for overcoming challenges in the energy sector and lauded the socio-economic coverage extended to the marginalized sections of the society during Coronavirus pandemic. He re-affirmed Bank’s commitment to continue support for the implementation of structural reforms in future on the occasion.

The Finance Minister thanked the MD (Operations), World Bank and his team for their continuous support and facilitation.

 
April 19, 2021 (PR No. 477)

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue held an introductory meeting with Secretary Planning....

After taking Oath of Office, the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat (Fayyaz Ahmed) Tarin held an introductory meeting with Secretary Planning, Development & Special Initiatives/ Chief Statistician, to evaluate the current techniques of data collection and analysis used by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The Chief Statistician gave a detailed briefing to the new Minister on evidence based data collection techniques followed by the Bureau in compiling figures particularly for CPI and SPI. The Minister appreciated the technology based data gathering techniques followed by the Bureau after doing away with the paper based approach and directed them to follow such methods that could further assist in making the data more objective, targeted and authentic for the purpose of comparison and analysis. The Chief Statistician also apprised the Minister of the changes they are about to introduce in the system to make it more comprehensive. The Minister said that addressing the root cause of inflation with devising a new hierarchy of administrative control will provide the most needed relief to the masses.

The Finance Minister assigned the PBS to adopt a practice of regularly comparing the difference in wholesale and retail prices of essential food items in different districts across the country. PBS will highlight the difference in prices in different provinces as well. The Minister said that the data if available on real time basis on the PBS dash-board will help in maintaining the strategic reserves of the essential commodities across the country. The meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee is expected to take place within a week’s time and PBS will share its data analysis report in the upcoming meeting of NPMC.

The meeting was attended by SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Member PBS Muhammad Sarwar Gondal, Economic Adviser Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad and senior officials of Finance Division.

 
April 15, 2021 (PR No. 476)

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

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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