Ramazan package okayed

WEB DESK: The Economic Co-ordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has approved a Rs 1.75 billion Ramzan Relief Package, admitting that private sector invariably increases prices of essential commodities.

A meeting of the ECC chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday was informed that “private sector invariably increases prices of essential commodities for a variety of reasons” and the government is providing relief to people at Utility Stores Corporation (USC) through the Ramazan Package since 1991.

On Monday, the ECC approved the Ramazan Package that will cover 22 essential items to provide relief from Rs 4 to Rs 50 on these commodities.

The meeting was informed that as directed by the Prime Minister the USC was already providing concessions on different items since April 27th which would also continue through Ramazan.

The relief on different items ranges from Rs 4 to Rs 50. Official proposal presented to the ECC reveals that Rs 4 per kg relief would be provided as flour Rs5 on sugar, Rs8 on ghee/oil, and Rs10 on dall channa.

The meeting was informed that for the effective awareness of the Ramazan Relief Package 2016 extensive publicity of Ramzan Relief Package will be required involving an estimated expenditure of Rs 10 million which will be met from USC’s resources.

The ECC was requested for approval of the Ramazan Relief Package 2016 with the provision of subsidy of a Rs 1.409 billion to USC and approval for release of arrears of subsidy of previous Ramazan Relief Packages amounting to Rs 622.146 million.

The meeting was informed that Finance Division in its views/comments on the subject summary has supported the proposals contained with observations that out of a total subsidy of Rs 1.409 billion, Finance Division will make an upfront payment of Rs 1 billion.

The payment of balance subsidy will be subsequently made subject to actual and verification of the claims. The ECC was informed that the Finance Division agrees to release the residual subsidy claims for 2014 and 2015 amounting to Rs 622.146 million.

These claims have been submitted after an audit only recently and are under process. The effective date of the Ramazan Relief Package is proposed to be June 1, 2016.

The ECC also granted approval for the allocation of 60MMCFD additional available gas from HRL (Habib Rahi limestone) Reservoir of Mari Gas to Thermal Power Station Guddu (TPSG) /GENCO- II.

Secretary Water and Power informed the Committee that compared to May 2015 14100 MW, power generation in the same month of current year is 16300 MW. –Business Recorder