ECC approves payment of 1st installment to 35 IPPs

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet Wednesday approved payment of first installment to thirty five Independent Power Producers ( IPPs) out of total forty seven, withholding payment to the remaining twelve IPPs owing to the NAB investigation.

The ECC meeting was chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, according to statement issued by the finance ministry. The Power Division had presented a summary before the ECC regarding release of first installment of payment to IPPs while the secretary of the division briefed the committee about the recommendations of the sub-committee constituted during ECC last week.

Secretary Power gave a detailed briefing to the committee regarding a draft summary for approval of arrangement for providing additional power from NTDC to K-Electric since April 2020. The Secretary Power also raised the issue of non-payment for the additional power supply by K-Electric to Power Division.

After Detailed discussion, the ECC constituted a Sub-Committee comprising Federal Minister for Planning, Federal Minister for Energy, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs and SAPM on Power to be headed by the Finance Minister to negotiate with the Karachi Electric for settlement of payment dispute amicably. Power Division placed a summary before the ECC regarding tax on payments to the offshore supply contractors of Independent Power Producer(s) located in AJ&K. The ECC considered and approved the summary to facilitate swift processing of such projects due to its strategic importance.

The ECC considered and approved a summary tabled by the Ministry of Industries and Production regarding exemption from duties and taxes for import of oxygen gas, oxygen gas cylinder and cryogenic tanks by oxygen concentrators/Generators /manufacturing Plants under respective Harmonized System (HS) codes for a period of 180 days to cope with the increased requirement of oxygen during the third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRS) through export Policy Order, 2020 and Import policy Order, 2020. The ECC considered and approved the summary. Lastly, Power Division presented a summary before the Committee regarding retargeting of power sector subsidies for electricity consumers during phase-I in consultation with Ehsaas and Finance Division.

The ECC approved the summary, in principle, with a direction to work out modalities for future course of action.

The cabinet committee also approved Technical Supplementary Grants (TSGs) including allocation of funds for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for procurement of oxygen gas and delivery mechanism for import of 6,000 MT of oxygen amounting to Rs. 1800 million to meet the emergency requirement for supply of oxygen to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The committee approved Rs.10 billion for the Finance Division for re-imbursement of telegraphic transfer charges to the banks on home remittances to encourage overseas Pakistanis to remit money through formal banking channels; Rs. 115 million for the Ministry of Defence for the up-gradation of health care facilities at Cantonment General Hospital, Rawalpindi and Rs. 800 million to the Ministry of Defence Production for the payment of outstanding loan to the National Bank of Pakistan (Bahrain).

It also approved Rs. 8 million for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to clear the pending liabilities of “Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE)”; Rs. 571.216 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice for the construction of Islamabad High Court Building; Rs. 350 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice for a new building of the Supreme Court Branch Registry Karachi; Rs. 198.017 million for running Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Center, Islamabad for treatment of COVID-19 patients and Rs. 27.5 billion for National Disaster Management Fund to complete NDMA’s component under Karachi Transformation Plan. The cabinet committee also approved Rs. 48.337 million for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for meeting its various operational expenses; Rs. 17.739 million for the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) to repair important laboratory equipment, Rs. 1563.046 million for the Ministry of Federal Education and Technical Training for establishment & operation of Basic Education Community Schools; Rs. 1210.18 million for the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) for meeting various operating expenses and Rs 100 million for the Cabinet Secretariat, given as contribution from the Government of Punjab for Pakistan Tourism Development Endowment Fund.

Among others, the meeting was participated by Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad, Mian Soomro; Federal Minister for Interior, Shaikh Rashid Ahmad; Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Omar Ayub Khan; 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 for National Food Security & Research, Syed Fakhar Imam; Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi; 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, SAPM on Power & Petroleum, Tabish Gauhar; Federal Secretaries, Chairman BOI and other senior officers. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir also joined through a video link.