ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday approved a Ministry of Energy’s proposal for revision in the prices of petroleum products on a fortnightly basis instead of the existing monthly basis.
The ECC meeting, chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also gave a go-ahead to the Ministry of Industries & Production’s proposal for import of up to 300,000 tonnes of refined white sugar in order to maintain buffer stocks and prevent any shortage of the commodity in the coming months (before the start of next crushing season).
According to details, the revision of oil prices on a fortnightly basis would come into effect from 1st August 2020, subject to endorsement from the federal cabinet. This would help the government improve its planning mechanism with refineries and OMCs, which would subsequently ensure better inventory management, better reporting of sales and enforcement of stock requirements, transparency and visibility of prices, and reduced dependence on one OMC.
As per the existing system, the prices of petroleum products are determined by allowing refineries to fix and announce the ex-refinery sale prices on a monthly basis subject to the condition that the ex-refinery price of the petroleum products cannot be more than the Pakistan State Oil’s average actual landed import price of previous months.
While considering a proposal by the Ministry of Industries and Production for import of refined sugar by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to maintain buffer stocks, the ECC allowed import of up to 300,000 metric tonnes of white sugar through a mode of procurement and other modalities to be decided by a three-member committee comprising I&P, commerce and finance secretaries.
The ECC also asked the committee to seek input from the Law Division on the preferred mode of procurement and report to the committee in its next meeting.
Meanwhile, on a proposal by the Finance Division, the committee approved the upgradation of Habib Bank Ltd’s representative office in Beijing.
The ECC also allowed exemption from government’s re-lending policy a proposal by the Ministry of Climate Change seeking AFD loan of $20 million as part of ‘Emergency Assistance to Fight Covid-19 Pandemic’ aiming to strengthen health workforce capacity, adopt infection minimisation measures and support the implementation of Covid-19 National Action Plan across the country.
Moreover, the committee considered and approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs340 million for the operationalisation of Swat Motorway.
It also discussed a proposal by the Ministry of Energy for third-party access to LNG terminals for use of excess capacity or government contracted-unutilised capacity. It approved the proposal to sell the unutilised capacity.