Dec 082017
FBR moves ECC for rationalising Regulatory Duty on several items

ISLAMABAD: At a time when the FBR has moved a summary before the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet for rationalising Regulatory Duty (RD) on several items including generators, the… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] Click for detailed story

Jul 232017
Export of sugar

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Finance has approved the export of 0.3 million tonnes of sugar against the demand of 0.6 million tonnes. The decision was taken to allow the export under certain conditions to avoid the escalation of prices of sugar in the domestic market. The export of 0.3 million tonnes of sugar will be in addition to the quantities already allowed for export by the ECC. According to some media reports, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), in May 2017 had informed the government that the sugar industry had produced record quantity of sugar leading to a surplus of 1.475 million metric tonnes which was resulting in the delayed payment to the sugarcane growers. The association requested that the Sugar Advisory Board should consider allowing the export of sugar. At present, sugar mills owe almost Rs25 billion to sugarcane growers. The mill owners are unable to pay the due amount because of the financial crunch faced by the industry and its poor liquidity position. In view of the above, there is a strong need to overview the sugar stock situation and accordingly enhance the export quota. This will facilitate the mills to pay farmers’ outstanding dues and commence the 2017-18 crushing season on time. This will also bring the much needed foreign exchange to the country and reduce its trade deficit. Khan Faraz (Peshawar) Click for detailed story

Dec 092016

ISLAMABAD: The government has planned to relax rules governing public procurement and the bidding process in a bid to award multibillion-rupee contracts without facing obstacles, say officials. Earlier, the government has drawn flak for violating public procurement rules in the award of lucrative contracts. For instance, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal-building contract given to the Engro group by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) sparked scathing criticism of the government, which was forced to float a tender. The cabinet, in its meeting held on November 23, considered a proposal for amending the public procurement rules of 2004. It reviewed a summary submitted by the Cabinet Division for amendments and constituted a committee to make changes to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Ordinance 2002 and PPRA Rules 2004. The committee will be headed by Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and comprise Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, States and Frontier Regions Minister Lieutenant General (Retired) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood. The cabinet was informed that consultations had not been held with public-sector organisations that made big procurements and it would be appropriate to address their concerns while amending the PPRA ordinance and rules. Section 26 of the PPRA Ordinance 2002 gives powers to the federal government to make rules for meeting purposes of the ordinance. The PPRA board, in its meeting held on October 19, 2016 had also decided to introduce certain amendments to rules 12, 42 and 45 of [Read More…]

Jul 152016
Unending woes: Power firms plagued with losses, low revenues, govt admits

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Water and Power has acknowledged that power companies are still plagued with high losses, outstanding payments, low revenue collection and more reliance on expensive thermal power production, which have led to a reduction in overall electricity generation and prolonged outages. In a meeting of the Econo­mic Coordination Committee (ECC) on June 28, representatives of the ministry said power distribution companies were still finding it difficult to clear long outstanding dues of the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA). For the inability of power companies, they blamed high distribution losses, less subsidy, low revenue collection, lower applicable tariff and increase in thermal power generation. This admission of failure on the part of power ministry comes in the backdrop of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) election campaign in 2013 when it hit out at the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party for being unable to control prolonged load-shedding and promised to bring outages to an end after coming to power. “These issues were adding to the cost of generation and were affecting cash flow of distribution companies, limiting their ability to settle their power purchase liability towards the CPPA,” the ministry told the ECC. “Therefore, the CPPA cannot pay the power purchase cost to the independent power producers (IPPs) and generation companies, which ultimately leads to a drop in power generation and increase in load-shedding.” The power distribution companies were in such a poor financial health due to bad governance and inefficiency that the ministry was compelled to seek an extension in the [Read More…]

May 312016

ISLAMABAD: Paying heed to opposition from the Ministry of Finance, the government has stopped short of approving a proposal for allocating gas supply to Engro Fertilizers from Mari Petroleum Company and providing unutilised gas in the Habib Rahi reservoir to other fertiliser manufacturers. The Ministry of Finance did not endorse the proposal tabled by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for discussion in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on May 23. The petroleum ministry was seeking allocation of 31 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) for Engro Fertilizers from the output of Mari Petroleum. It also suggested that any unutilised gas in the Habib Rahi reservoir could be supplied to the fertiliser industry connected to the Mari Petroleum network. Finance ministry opposes Mari gas supply to Engro Mari Petroleum started supplying 585mmcfd from the Habib Rahi reservoir on February 9, 2016 including 60mmcfd for power generation company-2 (Genco-2) and 33mmcfd for fertiliser plants – Fauji Fertilizer and Fatima Fertilizer – to partially make up for the gas curtailment. Later, the ECC, in its February 18 meeting, agreed on diverting 60mmcfd from Genco-2 to the fertiliser manufacturers as originally it was earmarked for that industry. Of the total, 34mmcfd was supplied to Fauji Fertilizer, 13.5mmcfd to Fatima Fertilizer and 12.5mmcfd to Engro Fertilizers. Mari Petroleum has continued to release required gas for Engro in a bid to avoid shutdown of the fertiliser plant. In the meantime, Engro requested Mari for additional gas supply after meeting needs [Read More…]

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