ISLAMABAD   -  The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday has decided to approve to lay off 3,500 employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) under the voluntary separation.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at Cabinet Division. A summary was presented by the PIACL and Aviation Division before ECC regarding GOP cash support for the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS). After thorough discussion, it was decided to approve, in principle, the voluntary separation from service scheme for PIA.

PIA had sought cash support of Rs12.871 billion to lay off 3,500 employees through a voluntary separation scheme (VSS). The plan would be presented to the ECC of the Cabinet for consideration accordingly. ECC approved budgetary allocation in favour of NITB for provision of ICT services at the Prime Minister’s Office for Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Programme for FY/2020-21 to the tune of Rs53 million as requested by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication.

In light of a summary presented by the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication regarding manufacturing of SIMs/Smart-cards in Pakistan, after due deliberation, the Chair directed to constitute a Committee to examine the proposal and present a report for a way forward within two weeks. The Committee would be chaired by the Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and would include representatives from the Ministry of IT & Telecom., FBR and Board of Investment (BOI).

Likewise, ECC recommended to form a Committee consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) to decide a timeline for export of Mango and Kinnow as deemed suitable by the aforesaid committee after due consultation with the stakeholders. ECC gave concurrence to the proposal by the Petroleum Division, in principal, regarding allocation of gas from Bashar X-IST to third party up to 1.0 MMCFD. ECC also approved four separate Technical Supplementary Grants for the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior for various projects during current FY 2020-21.

Ministry of Defence had sought an allocation of technical supplementary grant for internal security duty allowance to the Pakistan Army. Another summary of the ministry seeks ‘additional allocation’ of technical supplementary grants for the second phase of fencing along the Pakistan-Iran border during the current fiscal was approved.

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Baber and Advisor to the PM for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain attended the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir also participated through video link.