ECC approves Rs1.73bn Ramzan Relief Package to subsidise food items

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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet Thursday approved a Ramzan Relief Package 2018 worth Rs1.73 billion to subsidise the prices of 19 daily use items to be provided at Utility Stores Corporation during the holy month of Ramzan.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the ECC, held at PM’s Office with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair.

Among the items which would be sold out at subsidized rates at Utility Stoles included flour, sugar, cooking oil, ghee, grams, gram flour (besan), dates, rice, squashes, milk and tea.

The government will provide a subsidy of Rs1,733 million under the Ramzan Relief Package 2018.

During the meeting, the prime minister directed that under the Ramzan package, daily use items should be provided at lower rates than the market.

The ECC also accorded approval of the extension of financial closing date of 660 KV HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line by 7 Months i.e., up to December 1, 2018, without doubling the amount of Performance Guarantee. The decision has been taken to align the project with the completion of upcoming coal-fired power projects being developed at Thar and near Karachi as well as 1100 MW K-2 project at Karachi.

The ECC nodded to a proposal of the Power Division for raising of Rs100 billion through commercial banks as a fresh financing facility to be arranged through Power Holding Private Ltd (PHPL). The loan amount will be utilized for funding the liabilities of the power distribution companies towards Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) and the sectoral entities.

The meeting also approved the revision of Cess Rates of Tobacco for the Year 2017-18 besides allowing PASSCO to export 0.5 million tonnes of surplus wheat at a rebate of $155 per tonne through sea route.