ECC approves additional grant of Rs 8 bn for Sialkot-Kharian Motorway project

ISLAMABAD, Dec 31 (APP):The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet Friday approved the proposal of Ministry of Communication for special allocation of additional funds of Rs. 8,000 million (Rs. 4000 million as upfront Viability Gap Funding (VGF) and Rs. 4000 Million for overhead costs) against approved government of Pakistan’s share for the Public Sector Development Programme project titled “Sialkot (Sambrial) – Kharian Motorway Project (SKMP).

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by Ministry of Communication for extension in the timeline given to National Highway Authority (NHA) for preparation of commercially viable Business Plan till June, 2022 with same conditions regarding CDL as decided by the Federal Cabinet. NHA’s debt restricting would be linked with the outcome of the business plan.

The ECC also directed Ministry of Communication to submit a monthly progress report regularly and prepare Business Plan well before deadline.
The meeting of the committee was held here with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin in the chair.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammedmian Soomro, Federal Minister for Railways Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Secretaries and senior officers participated in the meeting.

The Aviation Division submitted a summary on the financial challenges of Roosevelt Hotel, New York and request of PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL) for re-rolling of principal amount i-e US$142 million along with mark-up payments by National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) for further period of two years ending on December 31, 2024.

PIA-IL is unable to pay the principal amount of the loan and mark-up payments on behalf of RHC due to closing/suspension of RHC, New York.
The ECC discussed and approved the proposal with directions to Aviation Division to prepare a roadmap for the permanent solution of the issue.

The ECC discussed and approved a summary tabled by Cabinet Division on proposals of Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NAPHDA) for revision of customer pricing and mark-up subsidy period under Tier-I of Government mark-up subsidy scheme for low cost housing (for NAPHDA projects) and inclusion of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) in G-MSS for housing finance with directions that there should be no direct involvement by the commercial banks in NAPHDA projects.

Finance Division tabled a summary on the proposal of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for incentives for exchange companies against surrender of foreign exchange in the interbank market. Under the proposal Exchange Companies may be provided cash incentives of
PKR 1 against surrender of each USD mobilized from inward remittances. Exchange companies are required to surrender 100% of inward remittances in the interbank market.

The ECC approved the proposal with direction to review the model to achieve further improvement.
The ECC discussed and approved the summary tabled by Ministry of Industries and Production regarding gas rate for operations of SNGPL based plants i-e Fatima Fertilizer
(Sheikhupura plant) and Agritech for the period October 2021 to January 2022, and to keep at PKR 839/MMBTU (with variable contribution margin @186/bag).

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by National Engineering and Scientific Commission for issuance of Government’s sovereign guarantee for NECOP project worth US$5,822,025 for batch-IV and US$26,154,058 for batch–V in favour of CETC, Beijing , China to pay back loan in seven years, including two years grace time.

Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division submitted a summary on for issuance of sovereign guarantee amounting to Rs24,188 million in favour of M/s Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd and a syndicate of two banks led by United Bank Limited (UBL) for the remaining tenor of the loan and letter of comfort in favour of lender banks for new financing agreement with respect to pipeline infrastructure development project LNG-II. The ECC approved the proposal.
The ECC