ECC allows import of 50,000 tonnes of gram pulse

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, in its meeting that was chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday, accorded the approval for import of 50,000 tonnes of gram pulse due to shortage in the local market.

While according approval to the Ministry of Food Security’s proposal with consensus of the house, the finance minister directed the Ministry of National Food Security, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industries to make arrangements for the import of gram pulse at the earliest.

On a proposal moved by the Ministry of Water and Power, the ECC approved adoption and implementation of quality standards for import of solar PV equipment into the country. The committee also gave direction to the Ministry of Water and Power to liaise with Ministry of Science and Technology and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to ensure well coordinated process for adoption and implementation measures in two weeks time. The Ministry of Water and Power shall present to ECC its report on adoption and implementation of quality standards, the finance minister further directed.

Taking benign consideration of proposal by the Privatisation Division, the ECC approved payment of two months salaries for employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). The finance minister on this occasion remarked that the relevant ministry and the Pakistan steel should find a way out of the current stalemate as the government just could not afford to continue providing finances to meet the liabilities of PSM. Considering another such proposal from the Privatisation Division, the ECC also allowed payment of two months salaries to the employees of Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF).

On a summary of the Ministry of Railways, the ECC approved the recommendations of the ministry supported by Ministry of Law and Justice to recall the committee’s decision of 1st January 2013, relating to the Business Express Train. The ministries had stated that the recall of the decision, which was not formally implemented, would help the judicial settlement of the matter.

Earlier at the outset of the meeting, the finance minister informed the ECC members that the leading international rating agency, Fitch, had upgraded Pakistan’s rating to “B” on the basis of its economic performance. The minister said that new rating was reflective of the robust economic policies adopted by the government, adding that as of Thursday, Pakistan’s forex reserves had reached $18.56 billion, which was a record.

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