NDMA gets Rs5bn ‘emergency grant’ to fight coronavirus

'The amount shall be utilised to ensure the provision of different types of personal protection equipment against COVID-19'

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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs5 billion for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to combat on an emergent basis the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The ECC meeting, held with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair, approved a total of four technical supplementary grants for different ministries on Thursday. These included Rs275 million in favour of the Ministry of Housing and Works for capital outlay on civil works; Rs84 million ($532,152) to be provided to NADRA for ‘FATA TDP Emergency Recovery Project’; Rs5.5 billion for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Achievement Programme; and Rs5 billion for NDMA to fight coronavirus on an emergent basis.  

“The technical supplementary grant approved for NDMA shall be utilized to gain logistical support and to ensure the provision of different types of personal protection equipment against the virus (respirators/face masks),” said a statement issued by the Finance Division.

Meanwhile, the ECC formed an inter-ministerial committee to firm up proposals in a month’s time on the ‘incentives package’ for National Electric Vehicle Policy. The newly-constituted committee would be headed by Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood. Other members include Planning & Development Minister Asad Umar, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, and Special Assistant to PM on Austerity and Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain.

The ECC also approved quarterly adjustments in K-Electric’s tariff for July 2016-March 2019 period. As a relief measure for the people of Karachi amid coronavirus outbreak and keeping in view the upcoming month of Ramadan, the ECC directed to notify the tariff after three months, and ordered the finance and power divisions to facilitate K-Electric through an advance provision of subsidy amounting to Rs26 billion. 

The committee was briefed that the revision of tariff would have an impact of Rs1.09 to Rs2.89/Kwh for various categories of consumers.

Moreover, on the summary moved by the Ministry of Energy regarding the execution of LPG Air Mix supply projects by sui companies, the ECC decided to continue with the operation of two already installed and working plants at Awaran and Bella and approved the installation of another four plants at Gilgit, Drosh, Ayun and Chitral, where the equipment has already been procured for plant installation. Work on other projects of the same nature was stalled as it required a huge amount of subsidy to both SSGC and SNGPL.

It was briefed to the ECC that SNGPL required Rs19.851 billion per annum for operation of 16 projects and SSGC would require Rs14.474 billion to operate 32 approved projects.

The committee decided that the Ministry of Energy should engage with the Balochistan government and come up with more efficient projects that could give maximum benefit to the population within the same amount of allocation/subsidy. The decision was taken in the context that the existing revenue shortfall of SNGPL was Rs143 billion and for SSGC, it was Rs72 billion as of end 2018-2019.

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