ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Thursday approved the three-month salary of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) workers .

The salaries have been pending since June 2015 due to multiple reasons. The ECC meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, approved the salaries to provide relief to PSM workers and their families. Improving upon the previous practice of approving two-month salaries, the ECC approved three months salaries for the PSM workers .

The country's largest and the only integrated steel plant, with a production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes per year, had been non-functional for the last one-and-a-half years mainly due to the suspension of gas supply. The PSM is not in a position to pay salaries to its workers . Therefore, the federal government is releasing salaries from the national exchequer.

The ECC also approved the issuance of sovereign guarantee by the government in respect of Syndicated Term Finance Facility amounting to Rs136.5 billion for the power sector. The decision was taken at the request of the Ministry of Water and Power as the Power Holding (Private) Limited is a public sector entity and will be responsible for arranging loan amounting to Rs136.5 billion for power sector companies.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research also gave a detailed presentation regarding supply position of grain pulse and its prices in the international market.

The ECC directed the ministry to monitor supply position and prices of gram pulse to cater the country's demand.  The ECC also asked the ministry to coordinate with provincial governments for ensuring price control and a steady supply of gram pulse in the market.

The ECC also allowed the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to replace lower Zakum crude price with Das Blend crude price to determine basket price for oil refineries. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources apprised the ECC that previously the lower Zakum crude oil was included for determining basket price of crude being supplied to oil refineries in Pakistan.

The Platts Global Alert has stopped publishing the price of the lower Zakum crude oil, therefore, the requisite replacement was accorded.