ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday approved import of gasoline Research Octane Number (RON92) to boost the efficiency of the vehicles and protect the environment.

The ECC meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, allowed the introduction of 92 Research Octane Number (RON) premium motor gasoline (petrol) in Pakistan. Currently, the country is using 87 RON premiums, which is almost abandoned by the world.

The decision is part of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources’ plan to introduce petrol of three different grades (92 RON, 95 RON and 97 RON) for replacing the existing petrol of 87 RON. Initially, the government has allowed the import of RON 92 on trail basis and will introduce it in some selected locations of a few major cities. If the experiment went successful, this fuel will be launched in the rest of the country.

The gasoline currently available in Pakistan has a RON value of 86/87. The refineries, worldwide, have reduced the production of Octane/RON 87, which is weaker fuel as compared to RON 92. Although higher RON reduces environmental impact due to lower emissions as a result of better engine hygiene, however, it would increase the prices of petrol. Price differential between 87 and 92 RON petrol is projected to be around Rs2.74 per litre based on last one year data at the rate of 55 paisas per RON per litre, according to the figures of the ministry.

The ECC has also decided that new arrangement will be effective from the next cycle of PSO tender in this year. The new cleaner and efficient fuel is likely to lower emissions. OGRA will monitor the price of new fuel as was the case in RON 87 PMG.

The ECC has also considered and approved the sale of imported Urea available at the National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) at Rs.1310 per 50 kg bag.

On the proposal brought by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and coordination, ECC gave approval to the exemption from customs duty and sales tax on import of Salter scales for Lady Health Workers Program. UNICEF has provided $1.3 million available under the Gavi HSS-I fund which will be utilized to purchase approximately 38000 Scales and other equipment to be provided across the country to help children affected by stunting. Stunting can be addressed with growth monitoring and nutritional advice during the first three years of a child.

ECC also granted exemption from tax and duties for import of machinery and equipment/ construction materials to NHA for infrastructure projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor.