ECC forms committee to review OMCs’ margins on petroleum products

Committee okays continuation of general subsidy on five essential items through USC; approves allocation of gas from Mari Petroleum wells to SSGC; defers five-year textile policy for further deliberations

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has constituted a four-member committee to review the margins of oil marketing companies/dealers on petroleum products.

The ECC meeting was held under the chair of Finance and Revenue Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday.

According to details, the Petroleum Division had proposed Rs0.45 per litre hike in OMCs’ margin on MS and HSD, whereas it had sought an upward revision of Rs0.58 per litre on MS and Rs0.50 per litre on HSD for dealers.

The revision in the margins of OMCs and dealers was worked out based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – from June 2019 to October 2020 — duly published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The ECC, after due deliberation, decided that proposed rates for an increase in margins would be considered after a detailed study by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).

In this regard, the forum constituted a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Special Assistant to PM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood to evaluate the outcome of the PIDE study and present a revised summary before ECC accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industries & Production presented proposals related to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) before the ECC. The committee considered and approved the first proposal regarding the continuation of general subsidy on five essential items through USC from 1st Jan till 30th June 2021, from funds allocated under Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020 in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic.

Secondly, the ministry requested the ECC to approve the reallocation of Rs2.332 billion for ERP procurement and IT infrastructure for automation of stock management throughout the USC network. ECC approved the proposal in principle, with a direction to hold further consultation with IT and finance ministries for smooth implementation.

It was also decided that the USC would present before next ECC meeting a revised proposal after working out a specific percentage range(s) of differential from market prices for subsidizing essential commodities through the Ministry of Industries & Production. The percentage range(s) would serve as a benchmark for subsidizing the essential commodities through USCs, keeping in view fluctuations in international commodity prices.

On Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25 by the Ministry of Commerce, the ECC decided to include SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar in the sub-committee for a detailed consultation on proposals related to the power sector, which falls under the ambit of the textile policy. The five-year textile policy would be presented before the ECC in a couple of weeks.

Moreover, the ECC approved a Power Division summary regarding the implementation agreement, supplemental agreement and power purchase agreement for a 300MW coal power project in Gwadar.

Also, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), the ECC approved the allocation of 22MMCFD of gas to the SSGCL system from Sujjal-I, Sujawal-X-I and Aqeeq-I wells of Mari Petroleum Company Limited.

Religious affairs secretary on the occasion presented the Zaireen Management Policy before ECC for consideration. The underlying rationale is to regulate, streamline and provide better facilities to Zaireen for performing religious obligations in an organized manner. The ECC approved the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Office at Quetta and Taftan at an estimated expenditure of Rs38.50 million. It also considered the establishment of Ziarat Directorate Offices at Mashhad (Iran), Karbala and Baghdad (Iraq) and directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to seek formal consent/approval from the host countries through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lastly, the National Electricity Policy 2021 was placed before ECC by the Power Division. After detailed discussion, the ECC referred the policy to Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) for consideration with the advice that the policy may be referred back to ECC with recommendations. The committee further directed to take all provinces on board during the consultative process.

The meeting also approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs42 million in favour of the National Program for Enhancing Command Areas in Barani Areas (ICT component) surrendered by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research.

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