ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet was held. Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting.
Secretary Finance presented to the Committee a review of Key Economic Indicators. It was informed that the positive trends in the economic indicators have continued during the last quarter. During the last six months Inflation remained at 2.08% as compared to 6.08% during the same period of last year. Large scale manufacturing sector registered a growth of 4.2% in July October 2015-16 as compared to 2.5% in the same period last year. As a result of decline in imports the trade deficit during July-December 2015-16 stood at $ 11.9 billion compared to $ 12.1 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Workers’ remittances received during July-December 2015-16 amounted to $ 9,735 million against $ 9,162 million last year, showing increase of 6.3%. Foreign Exchange reserves crossed an all time high of $21 billion in December 2015. FBR tax collection during July-December 2015-16 increased to Rs.1385.2 billion as compared to Rs. 1171.9 billion in the same period of 2014-15 thus registering an increase of 18.2%. Net inflow of foreign investment during July-November 2015-16 was recorded at $824.9 million, the ECC was informed.
On a proposal of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, the Committee approved signing of the LNG Sale Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Qatar Gas Operating Company-2 for a period of 15 years and authorized the PSO to execute the SPA under government to government arrangement after completing the due process.
On another proposal from the Ministry of National Food Security the Committee also approved the export of surplus wheat by the provinces of Sindh and Punjab to the tune of 200,000 tons and 400,000 tons respectively. Considering the low prices of the commodity in the international market, the Committee also decided that the subsidy will be provided to the exporters on the same lines as under the previous scheme which expired in September 2015. The new scheme will be implemented with immediate effect and will continue till 15 March, 2016.
On a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Commerce, the ECC decided that federal share of cash support on export of sugar will be allowed only to those sugar mills which purchase sugarcane at minimum price of Rs.180 per 40 KG from the farmers. The Committee emphasized that such millers who do not pay the full price to the farmers should not benefit from government support for exports.