Preparing for elections: Govt allocates Rs15b for ECP
With a view to the upcoming elections, the federal government on Tuesday approved the release of Rs15 billion for the top electoral body of the country.
This was decided during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the federal cabinet which was held on Tuesday.
The meeting was chaired by Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar.
Others who attended the meeting included Federal Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Power Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, Industries Minister Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Coordinator to PM on Commerce & Industry Rana Ihsan Afzal, federal secretaries, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and other senior officers attended the meeting.
Funds for ECP
The ECC approved Rs15 billion for the Election Commission of Pakistan in the ongoing financial year 2022-23.
Of this, Rs5 billion would be released to the commission immediately while the balance will be released in tranches once the first tranche has been utilized.
Credit Guarantee Trust Fund
During the meeting, the Finance Division submitted a summary to launch the Credit Guarantee Scheme under the Credit Guarantee Trust Fund through a Second Supplemental Trust Deed.
The committee was told that a company, the Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company Limited (PMRC) has been setup as a joint initiative of the government, commercial banks and development finance institutions (DFIs) to provide medium and long-term funding to primary mortgage lenders by raising money from the capital debt market at cheaper rates. The PMRC will be a trustee and will launch the Credit Guarantee Trust Scheme under the First Supplemental Trust Deed.
To expand risk coverage to financial institutions against financing in housing sector, the World Bank had approved an additional credit line to the federal government for housing finance. This line of credit will be passed on to Credit Guarantee Trust Fund.
The ECC reviewed the proposal and allowed the launch of the scheme for low-income housing through a Second Supplemental Trust Deed for $85 million.
This money will be obtained from the World Bank to provide risk cover to financing institutions against their financing in housing sector.
The food security ministry submitted a summary for the forum to fix and notify the minimum indicative prices of tobacco crop 2023.
After detailed deliberation, the committee approved minimum indicative prices for various types of tobacco for different areas for 2023.
|Types of Tobacco||Minimum Indicative Prices for 2023 (Rs. per kg)|
|Flue cured Virginia i. Plain area ii. Sub-mountainous area||310 351|
|Dark Air-Cured Tobacco||190|
|Naswar / Snuff / Hookah and other Rustica Tobacco||146|
|Sun cured Virginia||200|
Uniform tariff for KE
The Power Division submitted a summary on uniform tariff for K-electric.
The division argued that there is a need to maintain a uniform tariff across the country with category wise increases including general supply tariff – residential, general supply tariff – commercial, industrial supply tariff, bulk supply tariff, agriculture tariff, and public lighting with recovery period of four months.
However, they said that the uniform variable charge needs to be modified so that it is applicable to K-Electric.
The power division noted that such an adjustment shall be applicable on power consumption from October 2022 to January 2023, and will be recovered from consumers in December 2022 to March 22023, respectively.
The ECC after deliberation approved this proposal.
Paying Rs100b in circular debt
Power Division submitted another summary on settlement of payables to government-owned power plants at par with Independent Power Producers (IPPS).
The ECC approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs93.438 billion in three tranches of Rs31.146 billion each for paying the debt.
Regulatory duties reduced
Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary on an Individual Tariff Rationalization proposal to reduce the regulatory duties (RDs) in various sectors.
After a discussion, the ECC approved the proposal to reduce the duties.
Onn disodium carbonate (PCT – 2836.2000) the duty was reduced from the current rate of 20% to 10%.
On filament yarns (PCT 5402.3300, 5402.4600, 5402.4700, 5402.5200 and 5402.6200), duty was imposed at a rate of 5%.
Tube well rates
The federal government on Tuesday decided to cut power tariffs for farmers using tube wells by about 22% as it seeks to facilitate them ahead of the upcoming Rabi season.
The proposal was put forward by Ministry of National Food Security and Research to cut the base power tariff for electric tube wells used by farmers under the Kissan Package 2022.
It was decided to cut the tariff from the existing Rs16.60 per kilo watt hour by 22% or around Rs3.60 /kWh to Rs13 / kWh.
The new rate was effected in backdates from November 1, 2022.
The rates were approved to compensate for the damage caused by the floods and heavy rains.
Media awareness campaign
The information ministry submitted a summary to allocate budget to launch a comprehensive media awareness campaign on government initiatives, programs and projects.
After a detailed discussion, the ECC approved a supplementary grant of Rs2 billion for flood-related media campaigns.
Housing and development grants
The ECC approved a technical supplementary grant worth Rs162.521 million for the Ministry of Housing and Works.
Moreover, the committee approved Rs250 million for the construction of a railway underpass in Gojra, Toba Tek Singh.
Further, Rs144.21 million were approved for the execution of development schemes in Dera Ismail Khan.