PR No. 278 ECC Meeting Islamabad: December 31, 2015

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet here on Thursday evening.

The ECC considered and approved a proposal of the Federal Board of Revenue to extend the period of applicability of 0.3% withholding tax on banking transactions till 31st of January 2016. The Committee was informed that the reduced rate of 0.3% had been introduced by the government to allow FBR to hold negotiations with the trading community and resolve the issues confronted by them, so as to encourage them to become part of the formal economy. The negotiations were now in the final stages and therefore the reduced rate of 0.3% may be allowed to continue for another month.

The ECC also discussed and approved a proposal by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for supply of 60 MMCFD of RLNG to textile industry for 52 days in the current winter season. The decision has been taken to facilitate the export oriented textile units, which were facing gas shortage after the onset of the winter season and increased demand from domestic sector. The decision will enable the textile sector to continue to operate during the peak winter season.

On a proposal of Ministry of Water and Power regarding the Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) between Sui Northern Gas (SNGPL) and Rousch (Pakistan) Power Limited for supply of gas to Rousch’s 450 MW plant, the ECC directed the relevant authorities to finalise the GSA, which was under negotiations. The ECC was informed by the Minister for Petroleum that the supply of LNG will be enhanced from 17th January 2016 and this will also facilitate supply of gas to certain power plants.

The Ministry of Commerce made a detailed presentation to the ECC on the export performance, during the meeting. While making note of the presentation, the Committee observed that the government had provided a number of facilities to the industrial/export sector in the recent months, including the decision relating to reduction in the rate of electricity and it was now for the industrial sector to take maximum advantage of these facilities and enhance the level of exports. The Committee directed the relevant ministries to maintain close liaison with the exporters to ensure that substantial increase in exports.