ECC may approve Rs13.4m for media campaigns launched on ‘Kashmir Siege Day’

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) is likely to grant necessary approval for the allocation of additional Rs13.4 million funds to clear pending dues of media campaigns launched on “Kashmir Siege Day”.

Sources told Pakistan Today that the upcoming meeting of ECC on Wednesday, to be chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, is expected to approve the allocation of additional funds to clear the expenses incurred on the media campaign launched on August 5, 2020.

They said the actual expenditure incurred by the press information department and by the information sections in Pakistan’s mission abroad on the media campaign was Rs9.7 million and Rs3.7 million, respectively. The ECC has been requested be allocate these to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through a supplementary grant of lumpsum provisions.

The approval of the ECC will be solicited by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on October 14, 2020, sources added.

This year, Pakistan observed August 5 as “Kashmir Seige Day” to mark one year of the illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir. Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) were highlighted in local and international media through the Press Information Department (PID) and the press section abroad.

Reportedly, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had earlier moved a summary for the prime minister for release of funds for media campaigns on Aug 5. The Finance Division advised the information ministry to meet the immediate funds requirement through re-appropriation from its allocated budget and added that any shortfall generated because of the suggested re-appropriation will be met through supplementary or technical grant when required.

Similarly, another summary had also been sent for approval of the prime minister for allocation of an amount of Rs55 million through a supplementary grant or technical supplementary grant for the publicity campaign to be launched by the press section in Pakistan’s mission abroad. However, the prime minister observed that ECC is the competent forum for the grant.

Reportedly, the Finance Division had earlier issued Indicative Budget Ceiling amounting to Rs9.003 billion and budget orders statements were prepared and submitted to the budget wing of the finance division, which was then endorsed by the joint secretary of the Finance Division but the final allocation of Rs8.835 billion was made to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the current financial year.

The agenda items of ECC meeting on Wednesday include allocation of additional funds for payment of media campaign, request for write off of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) loan agreement along with mark-up/interest cost and other charges in relation to advance payment for Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim AS (Karkey) or to allow a grant for repayment, conversion of Power Holding Limited’s debt to public debt and approval of a technical supplementary grant of Rs5 billion to PPAF.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]
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