Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chairing a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet – Islamabad, December 24, 2020.

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP): The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Federal Cabinet Thursday approved the Ministry of Water Resources’ proposal in principle for the issuance of WAPDA’s debut $500 million Eurobonds to arrange finances for Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams.

The ECC, which met with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh in the chair, directed for working out modalities for the issuance of the bonds in consultation with the Finance Division and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), according to a Finance Ministry press release.

Minister for Privatization Mohammad Mian Soomro, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Special Assistant to the PM (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda and SBP Governor Reza Baqir participated in the meeting.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives gave a detailed presentation on the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP) to the ECC.

The forum discussed the plan thoroughly and endorsed, in principle, with the direction to secure approval from all relevant quarters before submission to the cabinet. Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh directed to follow all codal formalities with reference to various components of the KTP.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented amendments in the Master Plan, originally formulated in 2001, regarding establishment of five terminals on BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) basis. The terminals would fulfil increased demand for container handling capacity.

The ECC approved amendments in the Master Plan for establishing five terminals, including two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, two multipurpose cargo terminals and one integrated container terminal on BOT basis.

A detailed summary was placed before the ECC by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) regarding shelving the LNG Air Mix projects by Sui gas companies.

After deliberation, the ECC decided that the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) may abandon the three projects namely Drosh, Ayun and Chitral Town, and dispose off the land and equipment with minimal loss possible through an open transparent process.

The Ministry of Energy also presented a summary regarding repayment of the Government Holdings (Private) Limited (GHPL) loan and future funding requirements for expenditure in relation to gas import and infrastructure projects of Inter State Gas Systems (Pvt) Limited (ISGSL).

The GHPL had funded all the expenses of ISGSL through medium term loan as per ECC’s earlier decision dated December 15, 2016. Various proposals were presented before the forum and the cabinet committee approved the proposals in principle subject to clearance by the High Power Board.

The ECC also approved the summary by the Ministry of Industries and Production regarding duty and tax free import of cryogenic oxygen tanks for better handling of the COVID-19 situation.

The duty free import of cryogenic tanks would ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen gas at competitive rates.

The ECC also approved the change in the shareholding structure of the Pakistan Credit Guarantee Company (PCGC).

According to the new structure, the shareholding of the Government of Pakistan in the company has been reduced to 49% from the earlier 70%. Any dividends announced by the PCGC against shares held by the State Bank of Pakistan or any proceeds from the sale of shares in PCGC, held by the SBP, shall be remitted in the government treasury.

The committee also approved various technical supplementary grants (TSGs), which included an amount of Rs 757.100 million for the completion of different projects under the Sustainable Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) and Rs 500 million for the reimbursement of fee for less developed areas as requested by the Higher Education Commission.

The ECC committee approved TSG of Rs 500 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works to provide interest free loans to borrowers under the Prime Minister’s Low Cost Housing Scheme, Rs 4,189 million for the execution of development schemes for Sindh and Balochistan provinces under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) being executed by the Ministry of Housing and Works/Pak PWD and Rs 327 million for Auditor General of Pakistan to sustain the World Bank’s public financial management and accountability service delivery project during FY 2020-21.