ECC Approves Rs 7.49 Billion Ramazan Relief Package

ECC Approves Rs 7.49 Billion Ramazan Relief Package

Islamabad, February 13, 2024 – In a significant move aimed at providing relief to the targeted beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) during the holy month of Ramazan, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a Rs7.492 billion Ramazan Relief Package.

The decision, made during a recent meeting chaired by caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, reflects the government’s commitment to easing the financial burden on the general public and ensuring the well-being of vulnerable communities.

Ramazan Relief Package-2024:

The ECC meeting, held on February 13, 2024, greenlit the proposed Ramazan Relief Package-2024, allocating a substantial sum of Rs7.492 billion to provide subsidies to the targeted beneficiaries of BISP. This move is in line with the budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, demonstrating a strategic approach to alleviate economic challenges faced by low-income households during the holy month.

Gas Price Increase Deferred:

While addressing various economic matters, the ECC deferred a decision on the proposed increase in gas prices, opting for further deliberation in the subsequent meeting. This cautious approach indicates the committee’s commitment to thoroughly examining the potential impact on the public and the economy before implementing any adjustments.

Tariff Rationalization and Trade Policy:

The ECC discussed proposals from different sectors for the review of custom duties, considering a summary from the Ministry of Commerce (Tariff Policy Wing) regarding individual tariff rationalization. After careful deliberations, the committee approved the proposal and emphasized the importance of coordinating tariff rationalization with the overall trade policy, ensuring a balanced and conducive economic environment.

Wheat Import and Export Facilitation Scheme:

A noteworthy development during the meeting was the approval of the Ministry of Commerce’s proposal to permit the import of wheat and export of wheat flour under the Export Facilitation Scheme 2021. The ECC directed relevant ministries to prepare comprehensive proposals to enhance opportunities for value-added exports, promoting economic growth and stability.

Power Generation Approval:

The ECC approved a summary from the Power Division regarding the commissioning of the 1,263 MW CCPP Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited, Jhang (PPTL). This decision reflects the government’s commitment to addressing energy needs and enhancing power generation capacities for sustainable economic development.

Subsidy on Urea Import:

The ECC considered a proposal from the Ministry of Commerce regarding the sharing of subsidy on imported urea at an equal 50:50 basis. Following discussions, a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) of Rs6 billion was approved for the Ministry of Commerce. These funds are designated for clearing arrears of subsidy from the previous financial year, with a directive to approach provincial governments for settling their respective subsidy arrears on urea.

Inflation Analysis and Measures:

The Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives provided a briefing on the inflation situation in the country. The ECC directed detailed analysis of data collected by the PBS and urged timely presentation to the committee for informed decision-making.

The ECC’s approval of the Rs7.492 billion Ramazan Relief Package underscores the government’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of vulnerable communities during the holy month. With key decisions on gas prices deferred for further scrutiny and strategic approvals in areas like tariff rationalization, wheat import/export, power generation, and subsidy distribution, the ECC demonstrates a comprehensive and balanced approach to economic management. The government’s focus on data-driven decision-making and collaborative efforts with relevant ministries reflects a commitment to addressing economic challenges and fostering sustainable development.