ECC approves Rs480m risk allowance for healthcare workers

Committee also approves Rs22bn worth technical supplementary grants for different ministries and institutions

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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Wednesday approved Rs480.556 million to pay risk allowance to all healthcare workers performing duties related to Covid-19.

“The amount shall be provided out of Rs50 billion of the Prime Minister’s fiscal stimulus package through technical supplementary grant. It will be paid to 3,432 employees of 10 health institutions of the federal government. The situation will be reviewed after 4 months for the continuity of the allowance,” said a statement issued by the finance ministry.

The ECC meeting, chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also approved a number of technical supplementary grants, worth Rs22 billion, for different ministries and institutions. 

These included Rs3.48 billion for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the running costs of the foreign missions; Rs5.47 billion for the Ministry of Law & Justice to pay the annual membership fee of different organizations; Rs250 million for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to meet its liabilities towards the Punjab government; Rs168.15 million to the Ministry of Interior for the smooth functioning of peacekeeping missions; Rs18.33 million for the Privatization Commission to meet its expenditure under various heads and Rs7.24 billion for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination for expanded programme on immunization.

Similarly, a supplementary grant of Rs79 million was approved for Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to meet its various expenditures; Rs5 billion for the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund; Rs8.4 billion to BISP ( the amount was transferred by Punjab government for onward transfer to BISP beneficiaries in Punjab through Ehsaas programme); Rs500 million for completion of two ICT projects; Rs450 million for Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme under ICT Administration and Rs3.36 billion for Establishment Division to pay arrears of group insurance of non-gazetted employees.  

Meanwhile, the ECC, after reviewing the situation of Urea availability in the country and to make the commodity available for the upcoming sowing season, formed a committee under the chairmanship of the industries minister to review and recommend the appropriate ‘Variable Contribution Margin’.

In order to provide relief to small and medium enterprises during the ongoing pandemic situation, the committee approved the change in key terms of the Kamyab Jawan Programme. Now, instead of two tiers (100,000-0.5 million and 0.5 million-5 million), there will be three tiers of the loans; Rs100,000 to Rs1 million, Rs1 million to Rs10 million, Rs10 million to Rs25 million. Tier-I loans shall be on the personal guarantee of the borrower whereas T2 and T3 loans shall be as per bank’s own credit policy.

The government shall bear credit losses for the principal portion only on the disbursed portfolios of the banks for T1 up to 50pc, T2 up to20pc, T3 up to 10pc and the executing agencies shall be all commercial banks.

Loan pricing was also changed for all three tiers (3pc, 4pc, 5pc respectively, bank pricing shall be KIBOR+400 BPS for all three tiers).

Moreover, the ECC approved $10.9 million for capital increase in the National Bank of Pakistan’s  Bangladesh operations, to meet the minimum capital requirements prescribed by the Central Bank of Bangladesh for the year 2019 and to create some cushion in equity for 2020.

The proposal was submitted by the Finance Division.

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