ISLAMABAD                        -                  The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday has approved Rs5 billion for National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for fighting the spread of coronavirus on emergency basis. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, chaired the meeting of ECC that has approved supplementary grant for NDMA. The technical supplementary grant approved for NDMA shall be utilized to gain logistic support and the provision of different types of personal protection equipments against the virus like respirators/face masks etc.

Meanwhile, the ECC has also approved other three technical supplementary grants (1: Rs. 275 million in favor of Ministry of Housing and Works for capital outlay on civil works, 2: Rs. 84,352,265 equivalent to $ 532,152 to be provided to NADRA for FATA TDP Emergency Recovery Project, 3: Rs, 5500 million for Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Program. ECC formed an inter-ministerial committee, to firm up proposals in a month’s time on incentive package for National Electric Vehicle policy (NEVP) comprising Minister Planning & Development, Minister Science and technology, SA PM on Austerity and Institutional Reforms , Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, SA PM on Commerce (Chairman), SA PM on Petroleum, Secretaries Industry and Climate Change.

The Ministry of Climate Change in its summary argued that the proposed package in the NEVP aims to introduce the EVs in the country, and make their prices affordable by focusing on local manufacturing. The incentives package among others, proposes nominal import duty at one percent on the import of parts and components of various categories of EVs 2-3 wheelers, various categories of cars, buses and trucks. It further recommends nominal sales tax at one per cent on the sale of all EV categories to make these affordable for the buyers/general public.

The capital cost of the EVs is still high due to high battery costs, and as such without the proposed incentive structure it will be difficult to introduce EVs in the country. ECC acknowledged the role and efforts made by Ministry of Climate Change on preparing Incentive proposals for National Electric Vehicle Policy.

ECC also approved quarterly adjustments of tariff of K-Electric limited for the period from July 2016 to March 2019. As a relief measure for the people of Karachi amidst Coronavirus outbreak and in Ramazan, ECC directed to notify the tariff after 3 months in the meanwhile directed Finance and Power Division to facilitate K-Electric by advance provision of subsidy amounting to Rs. 26 billion. The ECC was briefed that the revision of tariff would have an impact of Rs 1.09 to Rs 2.89 /Kwh for various categories of consumers.

On the summary moved by the Ministry of Energy Power Division on execution of LPG Air Mix supply projects by Sui Companies, ECC decided to continue the operation of two already installed and working plants at Awaran and Bella and approved the installation of another four plants at Gilgit, Drosh, Ayun and Chitral town where the equipment has already been procured for plant installation.

The work on other projects of the same nature was stalled as it required a huge amount of subsidy to both SSGPL and SNGPL. It was briefed to the ECC that SNGPL requires Rs19.851b per annum for operation of 16 projects and SSGCL will require Rs14.47b to operate 32 approved projects. ECC decided that the Ministry of Energy should engage with the government of Balochistan and decide upon more efficient projects which would give the maximum benefit to the population of Balochistan province within the same amount of allocation/subsidy.

The decision was taken in the context that the existing revenue shortfall of SNGPL was Rs143b and for SSGCL Rs72b as of end 2018-2019. ECC also decided to allocate 5.0 MMCFD gas from Saand#1 to M/S SSGCL. The price of gas shall be according to the petroleum policy.