ISLAMABAD  - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday approved Ramazan package and balance amount of $35.96 million for induction of 15 aircraft on dry lease in the PIA fleet.

The ECC, which met under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, approved Rs 1.5 billion Ramadan package as compared to the Rs. 1.4 billion approved last year. The government, the Chair said, allowed special price relaxation despite already dropping prices of necessities owing to low level of inflation. This step was meant to further facilitate general public throughout the country during the holy month of Ramazan. Finance Division would provide upfront payment of Rs 1 billion to the USC to buy the items before Ramazan. These include flour (atta), sugar, ghee/oil, pulses(dal channa, dal moong washed, dal mash washed, dal masoor, white gram)  baisen,  dates, basmati rice, sela rice, broken rice, squashes and syrups (900 ml bottle) black tea, milk (Tetra pack) and spices.

Ministry of Industries has proposed a subsidy for 19 essential commodities from Rs 4 to Rs 10 during Ramazan at USC. The government would provide subsidy of a Rs 280 million on flour (atta) by selling it at Rs 10 per kg less than market rate. Similarly, it would provide subsidy of Rs 175 million on sugar to decrease its prices by Rs 5 per kg at USC. Meanwhile, the price of Ghee and oil would be reduced by Rs 10 per kg at USC compared to the open market prices.

Similarly, a Rs 35 million subsidy for Dall Channa to give a discount of Rs 10 on per kg.  The Ministry has also requested a subsidy of Rs 10 million for Dal Moong, Rs 10 million for Dal Mash washed and Rs 10 million for Dall Masoor to sell the commodity at Rs 10 per kg less at USC during Ramazan. The ECC was requested that a subsidy of Rs 25 million would be required to sell 2500 metric tons white Gram. Rs 30 million would be required to sell 3000 metric tons of basin at a subsidised rate by Rs 10 per kg less; Rs 10 million would be required to give a subsidy of Rs 10 per kg, Rs 50 million to provide Rs 10 per kg subsidy on rice basmati, Rs 20 million subsidy for rice sela, Rs 40 million for broken rice, a Rs 40 million subsidy for broken rice, 45 million for squash syrups, Rs 150 million for black tea, Rs20 million for milk (tetra pack), Rs100 million for spices.

The ECC also decided that USC would run a media campaign from its own resources apprising the public about the special package. It is worth mentioning here that the Ministry of Industries and Production has reportedly sought Rs 10 million for an advertisement campaign of the Ramazan package.

Further, the Ministry of Industries and the USC would submit a report to the ECC by middle of Ramazan about the implementation status of the package.

The ECC approved proposal of the Ministry of IT to operationalise the  already opened, non-lapsable Personal Ledger Accounts (PLAs) of USF and R&D funds subject to amendments in R&D and USF rules. This has been allowed to facilitate telecom operators in utilisation of above said funds for execution of projects, especially those relating to rural and underserved areas.

The ECC today also accorded approval for the balance amount of $35.96 million for induction of 15 aircrafts on dry lease in the PIA fleet. It may be recalled that the ECC in its meeting held on 6th December 2014 had approved in principle, an amount of $52 million and provision of first tranche of $16.44 million for these aircrafts. The provision of balance amount consequently was allowed today. PIA has arranged 10 A-320 and 5-ATR-72 aircrafts on dry lease, the Aviation Division’s proposal mentioned. The Chair with consensus of the house directed the Secretary Aviation Division that an overall reformation in all departments and services of the PIA was required. Induction of new aircrafts was a good step but quality of services needed a major improvement.

Moving a proposal regarding Pakistan Power Sector Reform, the Secretary m/o W&P informed the meeting that pursuant to the 1992 Power Sector Reform plan approved by Council of Common Interest (CCI) the function of transmission of electric power and transmission facilities vested in NTDC (the “System operations”).

The System Operations was being conducted by NTDC through its various divisions. The reform plan also envisioned the creation of a competitive wholesale power market that would benefit the power sector and the Pakistan economy in general via newly introduced profit incentives, an increase in managerial autonomy and an improvement in managerial accountability.  

Accordingly for the foregoing, the ECC of the Cabinet today approved that the function of operation and development of power market would be carried out through CPPA-G. ECC also approved the separation of CPPA from NTDC.