ISLAMABAD -  The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is likely to approve another bailout package for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in its upcoming meeting that will be held next week.

The ECC meeting, to be chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, would consider the proposal of aviation division to give bailout package to the PIA to bring it out of an abysmal crisis. Bailout package for PIA, worth more than Rs10 billion, would enhance sovereign guarantees limit from Rs162 billion, as national flag carrier is in deep financial constraints.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan had recently revealed that accumulated losses of PIA had reached Rs400 billion and the airlines suffered a loss of Rs 40 billion in 2016 alone. The PIA’s debts swelled to Rs186.5 billion and its accumulated losses amounted to Rs316 billion. He informed the media couple of weeks before that if the government is ready to pay mark-up on loans worth $2 billion, it would be instrumental in revival of the airline.

The loss-making PIA was on the active list of privatisation of the federal government under International Monetary Fund programme. However, the government failed to privatize the PIA due to the strong resistance from the opposition parties and labour union of the department.

Meanwhile, the top economic decisions making body of the country could also consider a proposal of the ministry of industries and production to approve salaries for workers of Pakistan Steel Mills, which is not operational due to financial constraints. The ministry has recommended approving four months salaries to PSM workers costing Rs1.52 billion. The workers of PSM had not received the salaries since April this year. “The approval of salaries for PSM workers is not included in the agenda’s meeting. However, the ECC could take it as special agenda,” said an official of the ministry of finance.

The ECC would also consider the proposal of Ministry of National Food Security & Research to approve support price for wheat for the season 2017-18. The meeting would also consider exempting profits of National Savings’ Pensioners Benefit Account (PBA) and Behbood Savings Certificates (BSC) from the levy of 10 per cent income tax. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had recently instructed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to take appropriate measures to remove the anomaly in tax regime which resulted in taxation of yield on PBA and BSC.

The Ministry of petroleum and natural resources would present four summaries in the ECC meeting. The summaries are related to allocation of gas from Badin IV South Block Concession located in District Badin, Sindh province and others.