ISLAMABAD                       -              The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday has once again deferred the decision of increasing gas prices.

The ECC, which was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, has taken up the summary of petroleum division to increase natural gas sales pricing for fiscal year 2019-20 with effect from Feb 1, 2020. OGRA had determined up to 214pc increase in gas rates for certain consumer categories but the petroleum division changed the proposals.

The proposed increase in gas prices during the ongoing winter will further increase the miseries of consumers, who are already facing high inflation at 14.6 percent in January 2020— scaling the highest level in 12 years.   However, the ECC once again deferred the decision of increasing has prices. Hafeez Shaikh said that government would not take a decision in haste. He has directed the official of petroleum division to further improve the gas price hike proposal, which should put minimum burden on the people.  He has also directed to present alternate plan against t he current proposal of hiking gas tariff.

The ECC has approved supplementary grants for various ministries and departments. ECC considered and approved the grant of amount Rs153.25million from the budget of the Ministry of Finance, as technical supplementary grant for the Ministry of Interior, to be given through the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, for compensation to the victims of suicidal attack at District courts F-8 Islamabad on 03-3-2014. Finance Division supported the proposal in compliance with the orders of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In order to register Postal Life Insurance as Public Limited Company, ECC approved an amount of Rs 700 million as initial paid up capital. The amount shall be allocated by the Finance Division and transferred to the proposed Postal Life Insurance Company. After the approval Postal Life Insurance shall fall under the regulatory frame work of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

ECC also approved the Creation of Digital Media Wing in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The purpose of the Wing shall be to effectively counter the fake/libelous news and highlight the development agenda of the government. The ECC directed the MoI&B to move ahead for the creation of the wing by using its already available resources.

ECC also approved the amendment in SRO 192(1)/ 2019 dated 11-02-2019 extending exemption from regulatory duty to export oriented units. ECC gave approval to the transfer of funds amounting to Rs 31.5 million in equivalent foreign exchange from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Defence as Technical Supplementary Grant for the logistic support for the maintenance of Cessna aircrafts.

ECC was attended by Federal Ministers for National Food Security and Research, Railways, Energy, Privatization and other senior officials of the different Ministries.