ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday decided to divert gas provided to power sector to industries, especially the export-oriented sector, with immediate effect to take full advantage of GSP Plus facility granted to Pakistan recently.

The ECC met under the chair of Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. The ECC decided to divert 85MMCFD of gas presently being provided to the power sector to the industry with immediate effect. The decision will check unemployment, maintain the present momentum of growth besides earning foreign exchange for the country. The ECC decided that aircraft acquired by airlines on lease would be charged taxes on monthly basis instead of calculating on the total period of lease.

It is worth mentioning here that ECC was supposed to discuss the bailout package for financial troubled Pakistan Steel Mills before its privatization. However, Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood informed that meeting would not discuss this issue in today’s meeting.

The ECC also decided that NEPRA be directed to determine the tariff of Hubco (1,292 MW) Lalpir (362 MW) Pakgen (365 MW), Saba (134 MW) power plants in 45 days following due process and as per standard conditions and procedures. These power plants had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Pakistan to convert their plants from furnace oil to coal within 24 months at the time when the government cleared the circular debt. The meeting was informed that once the above IPPs are converted on coal it will result in saving of over Rs.60 billion per annum. It was further informed that the boilers would have a provision to use indigenous Thar coal as part of government’s policy of reliance on indigenous resources.

Those who attended the meeting included Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of Food and National Security Sikandar Bosan, Khurram Dastigir, Minister for State for Commerce, Khawaja Asif, Minister of Water and Power, Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Umer, Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa and senior officials of various ministries.