ISLAMABAD   -    The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved to release salaries for the employees of Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) and Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM).

The ECC meeting, which was chaired by Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, approved the proposals submitted by the Ministry of Industries & Production for payment of salaries to the employees of Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) and Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM).

The ECC has also approved a proposal of the Power Division for payment of electricity charges by the Government of Sindh as Thar subsidy for 4514 domestic consumers of Taluka Islamkot.

The ECC directed the Finance Division to release one month’s salary amounting to Rs 355 million for the month of June to the PSM employees and further authorise it to arrange for payment of projected net salary of Rs 4097 million to the PSM employees for the financial year 2019-20 to be disbursed every month to PSM.

The ministry in the summary stated that production of PSM has been at complete halt since June 2015 and it does not have adequate financial resources in hand to meet expenses incurred on the salaries of its employees.

As per orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan communicated vide AGPR’s circular dated 10-05-2018, it becomes obligatory on all ministries/divisions and departments to ensure disbursement of monthly salary on the first day of each calendar month.

The Finance Division in the financial year 2018-19 has obtained a supplementary grant of Rs 2,342.078 million to meet salary expenses of PSM employees up to May 2019 which has already been consumed in disbursement of salaries.

To release the salary for the month of June, 2019 and onwards for the fiscal year fiscal year 2019-20, the Finance Division has directed Ministry of Industries and Production to seek approval of ECC of the Cabinet enabling it to make necessary arrangements for disbursement of salaries for the said period.

Accordingly, a summary for approval of ECC of the Cabinet for releasing of net salary of PSM employees for the month of June, 2019 (Rs 355 million] and projected net salary for the fiscal year 2019-20 (Rs 4,097 million) has been submitted.

Similarly, the ECC approved a proposal for payment of Rs 128 million for the salaries for the month of February to May 2019 to the employees of the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory and directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to hold a meeting with the Strategic Plan Division, Commerce Division, Sindh Building Control & Sindh Revenue Control to finalise a plan to hand over the PMTF to the SPD after clearance of all liabilities. 

On another summary submitted by the Power Division, the ECC approved the proposal for reflection in electricity bills of a subsidy by the government of Sindh for 4514 consumers of Taluka Islamkot in terms of payment of all charges of consumers using 100 or lesser units of electricity on actual charges as well as a flat subsidy of Rs 800 to be given to domestic consumers using more than 100 units. The meeting decided that in case the Government of Sindh failed to pay the subsidy in any future situation for a period of three months, the same amount be deducted at source by the federal government.

The ECC, on a summary submitted by the Ministry of Energy, also approved a proposal for budgetary allocation on annual basis for payment to Asia Petroleum Limited (APL) through Pakistan State Oil under a technical supplementary grant from the current financial year and onwards against accumulating shortfall in guaranteed throughput due to reduced demand in refined furnace oil by HUBCO, and asked the Ministry of Energy to take quick remedial measures for offsetting the accumulating shortfall by engaging local refineries for using APL’s network as reverse pipeline until the contractual obligation ending in 2027.

The ECC, on a summary submitted by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, also approved a proposal regarding necessary amendments & exemptions in Income Tax Ordinance, Sales Tax Act and Custom Act for the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone and asked the Law Division to suggest a way forward for their implementation and bring it up in the next Cabinet meeting in consultation with the Commerce Division, Planning Division, Maritime Division, Federal Board of Revenue and Board of Investment.

The ECC was also briefed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on the wheat situation in the country with the prices of wheat showing a slight drop in recent days.

The ECC was told that the wheat stocks in the country were 7.516 million tons as on 16-08-2019 as compared to 10.950 million tons of the corresponding period of last year.

Similarly, around 0.369 million tons of wheat and 0.198 million tons of wheat flour had been exported through sea and land route from the period 01-07-2018 to 16-08-2019.