ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to brief the ECC in its next meeting on the measures taken so far, including the areas treated so far with spray and pesticides, to control the threat of desert locust in different parts of the country.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh presided over the meeting.
For coping with the emergency of desert locust threat in Pakistan, the ECC approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs459.5 million on a proposal moved by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. The ECC was informed that nine districts of the country are affected by the Locust and the Department of Plant protection has been given the responsibility of dealing with the threat. So far 170,000 hectares have been cleared and the Ministry has been provided updates on daily basis. The ECC also directed that in the next meeting of the ECC a detailed briefing on the control of the threat be presented in the ECC.
The ECC also approved the “Enactment of Pakistan Single Window Bill, 2019” to be sent to the Cabinet. The enactment of the Bill will highly facilitate the businesses in Pakistan. The ECC was apprised that 42 government agencies are involved in granting approvals for different business. Through this Single window, all parties involved in trade and transport can lodge standardized information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements. The Customs Wing in FBR developed NSW Roadmap and implementation Framework, in April 2018 with the help of International Experts. This initiative is expected to improve Pakistan’s rating at ease of doing business index. It is expected that the project will be completed in December 2021.
The ECC also allowed the continuation of funding facility by Gas Holding Private Limited (GHPL) for Inter state Gas Systems (Private) Limited for another 2 years. There will be a provision in the agreement that as soon as the first project reaches closure, ISGS needs to be financially self-sustaining and it should put forward a business plan as how it will return the loan it has taken.
The ECC approved the placement of the Annual Report of the National Economic Council (NEC) (as required by Article 156 of the Constitution), before the Cabinet after the Chair was briefed that the points raised regarding the report for its placement before the Cabinet, had been duly addressed.
Ministry of Energy got the approval of a proposal for the extension and Rehabilitation of gas network in oil and gas producing districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Phase 1). Supply of gas to villages falling beyond 5-KM radius of Mardan Khel-III District Hangu and supply of Gas to Hafizabad. Accordingly, SNGPL was allowed to execute gas development schemes recommended by DWP and endorsed by the Board of Directors of SNGPL along with appropriate share of the funding shared between SNGPL and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On the proposal sent by the Ministry of Interior, the ECC approved the allocation of Rs300 million through Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) for raising of 1 Special Wing of Pakistan Rangers for (Protection of) Kartarpur Corridor on the recommendation of GHQ. The ECC directed that a three-members committee consisting of Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Secretary Finance and a representative of Ministry of Interior shall look into the details of the proposal and further rationalize the costs.