ECC okays Rs3.85 billion for salaries of Pakistan Steel Mills employees

ISLAMABAD-The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday has approved Rs3.85 billion for salaries of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) for current fiscal year and removed duties on selected HS Codes of textile sector.
The ECC, which was chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, has approved removal of Additional Customs Duties (ACDs) and Regulatory Duties (RDs) on selected HS Codes of textile sector, including fibers, yarns and fabrics of Nylon, Viscose, Acrylic, Rayon, Silk, Wool and vegetable based fibers like Hemp etc. The rationalisation has been done with an objective of increasing the share of MMF (Man Made fibers) for better per unit prices in the international markets, product diversification and, most importantly, value addition in our textile sector. This is in pursuance of the policy of Ministry of Commerce for cost reduction by reducing the duties, including ACDs and RDs, on raw materials as well as intermediaries. This is also an essential part of promoting industrialisation under ‘Make in Pakistan’, and ensuring ‘export led growth’ in the country. The total revenue impact of these exemptions will be Rs533 million.
“This is in pursuance of our policy for cost reduction by reducing all duties, on raw materials as well as intermediaries, and an essential part of promoting industrialisation under ‘Make in Pakistan’ and ensuring export-led growth,” said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.
He further said that the decision will enable our exporters to widen their product range, capture more of the synthetic market and improve our competitiveness. The ministry of commerce will now do the same in other sectors like Leather, Engineering, Chemicals, Pharma and Food etc, he added. Two separate summaries were presented in the ECC from the Ministry of Industries and Production for the disbursement of salaries of the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills and for clearing the liabilities of the retired employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills who have not approached the Court (Sindh High Court). ECC approved an amount of Rs3,850 million due to the employees of PSM for the financial year 2020-21 to be disbursed every month.
However, on the second summary, though the ECC agreed in principle that the dues to the retired non- litigant employees should be paid, the forum decided to seek a detailed report from the Ministry of Industries and Production on the nature of liabilities due to PSM on account of retirement dues, the liabilities that will accrue as a result of the retrenchment plan and other expenditures on account of utilities or any other charges due on PSM. It is pertinent to mention that the forum was briefed that earlier this month the retired employees of the PSM were already paid Rs12.741 billion as retirement dues but the Court has asked to pay the non-litigant retired employees as well that will further add Rs11.68 billion to the expenditure of the Federal government.
The ECC considered and approved 2 technical supplementary grants (TSGs) for the Ministry of Interior amounting to Rs111 million for clearing various liabilities of the ICT administration. Two other TSGs were approved for Islamabad High Court (Rs102 million) and National Heritage & Culture Division (Rs8.5 million) for various expenditures. The ECC also granted that waiver of guarantee fee on foreign loans of K2/K3 projects. According to a report prepared by PAEC and EAD, there will be a benefit of Rs0.07/KWh to the general public by the waiver of this fee. For the centralized procurement of the vaccines under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), ECC approved the shifting of Federal EPI from development to revenue expenditure with an allocation of Rs9, 903.195 million through TSG for vaccine procurement in CFY to avoid interruption in the immunization program. Now the vaccine shall be procured by the Federal EPI on behalf of the provincial governments and later reimbursement shall be made by Punjab and Sindh government and deduction at source from the shares of KP and Balochistan for their respective vaccine shares will be made.
ECC allowed notifying the Kharlachi Border Crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a rebatable border point for export of goods to Afghanistan. Earlier the opening of this border point helped in the release of congested transit trucks at the Afghan border due to Covid-19 restrictions. ECC allowed the exemption from re-lending of the funds for Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 to cover the country’s requirements for 12 months through emergency operations. In order to administer the program Asian Development Bank shall provide a loan of $100 million and an additional $5 million will be from the government of Norway as a grant administered by ADB. ADB has already signed a loan agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to finance the said project.

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