ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Tuesday decided to import 500 mmcfd LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) from Qatar; private sector was given no import quota.

The ECC, which met under the chair of Finance minister Ishaq Dar, has authorised the Petroleum Ministry to engage with the government of Qatar for procurement of up to 500 mmcfd LNG. The ministry forwarded the summary for approval. The private sector would play no role in importing the LNG.

The ECC in its last meeting revoked the two LNG import projects initiated by the previous government.

The ECC also decided to pay Rs177 billion to independent power producers (IPPs) by July 21 against the earlier announced date of August 10 to settle the circular debt issue.

The meeting was informed that Rs322 billion was paid to IPPs before signing Memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The MoU was signed with following conditions: Power projects with the capacity of more than 2000 mw will be converted to coal. IPPs will optimise generation capacity. One month extension in the payment period to Pepco/CPPA will be given. Settlement of dues will be made in accordance with provision of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and IPPs will withdraw their cases from the Supreme Court.

The ECC was informed that this step will bring additional 1600-1700 mw to the national grid.  The ECC reviewed the fertilisers’ demand and supply situation for Kharif (April-September) season. The body approved the import of 300,000 tons of urea for Kharif season.  It was decided that 60 mmcfd gas reserved for Guddo Power Plant from Mari Gas field would be given to fertiliser sector to facilitate the production of 50,000 tons of fertiliser per month. It will save foreign exchange. The ECC was informed that the Universal Service Fund along with Research and Development Fund were transferred to the Federal Consolidated Fund after necessary amendments in the rules.

The transfer is in conformity with the provisions of the 1996 Act which stipulates that the funds shall be under the control of the federal government.  The USF Rules 2006 also stipulate that the federal government shall have the possession, management and control of the fund, its income, undertakings, properties and assets.  Similarly, the RDF Rules 2006 state that the federal government shall administer control and manage the RDF.  The body was told that month on month consumer price index (CPI) based inflation was estimated at 5.9pc in June 2013.

Food inflation was 7.9pc which contributed 2.9pc to the CPI for the month of June, while non-food inflation recorded at 4.4pc which contributed approximately 3.0pc.