ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal submitted by the Privatization Division for disbursement of one and a half months salary to Pakistan Steel Mills employees.

Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the ECC here at the Prime Minister’s Office. Privatization Division sought approval of Rs570 million for payment of 50 percent remaining salary for the month of August 2016 amounting to Rs190 million and Rs380 million for the month of September 2016.

The ECC also approved in principal the funding on expenditure of Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited (ISGSL) subject to completion of corporate formalities. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources proposed that the Government Holding (Private) Limited (GHPL), being the parent company, will give a three-year term loan to ISGSL to fund all its expenditure on all government mandated projects being undertaken by (ISGSL). This loan and related interest will be repayable after three years through a single bullet payment on terms separately agreed between GHPL and ISGSL through a loan agreement.

ECC also approved revision of its earlier decision of 17th November 2016 on the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. The decision was; reduction in gas sale price for industrial sector and captive power from Rs600 per MMBTU to Rs400/MMBTU which was also applicable to fertilizer sector (only fuel stock) and General Sales Tax to be charged @ Rs 100 per MMBTU on the gas sale price for the aforesaid consumers.

As a consequence of this decision, the differential in cost of production of industrial customers on SNGPL system vs SSGC customers widened which was agitated by the industrial consumers on SNGP system who sought level playing field.

Therefore, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources requested ECC for withdrawal of its earlier decision of 17th November and proposed reduction in gas sale price for power stations and independent power producers from Rs613/MMBTU to Rs$400/MMBTU, and General Sales Tax to be charged at Rs100 per MMBTU on gas sale for the aforesaid consumers. The Ministry stated that the revise decision in this context will not only result in elimination of price disparity to a large extent but will also reduce electricity generation cost in the country which will provide relief to electricity consumers across the board.