ECC extends subsidy on five essential items through Utility Stores

ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet has approved the continuation of subsidy on five essential items through Utility Stores Corporation till the end of the current fiscal year.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC. Ministry of Industries and Production presented three proposals related to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) before the committee.

The ECC considered and approved the first proposal regarding continuation of general subsidy on five essential items through USC till 6th June 2021 out of funds allocated under Prime Minister’s Relief Package 2020 in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ECC also approved re-allocation of over Rs2.332 billion rupees for procurement and IT infrastructure for automation of stock management throughout the network of utility stores.

Furthermore, it was decided that the USC would present a revised proposal after working out a specific percentage range of differential from market prices for subsidizing essential commodities before next meeting. The percentage range would serve as a benchmark for subsidizing the essential commodities keeping in view fluctuations in international commodity prices.

Regarding the Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25, the ECC decided to include SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar in the sub-committee for detailed consultation on proposals related to the power sector. The policy would be presented before ECC in a couple of weeks.

 Petroleum Division presented a summary before ECC to review the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and dealer margins on petroleum products. After due deliberation, the ECC decided that proposed rates would be considered after a detailed study by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).

A sub-committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood to evaluate the outcome of the PIDE study and present a revised summary before ECC accordingly.

The ECC approved another summary by the Power Division regarding the implementation and power purchase agreement for 300MW cool power project at Gwadar. ECC approved the allocation of 22 MMCFD of gas to the SSGCL system from Sujjal-I, Sujawal-X-I and Aqeeq-I wells of Mari Petroleum Company.

The National Electricity Policy 2021 was placed before ECC by the Power Division. After detailed discussion, ECC referred the above policy to Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) for consideration. The committee further directed to take all provinces on board during the consultative process.

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