Rs66bn diverted to federal fund: ECC allows 300,000 tonnes urea import

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ISLAMABAD  : The government on Tuesday diverted about Rs66 billion of funds under Universal Service Fund (USF) and Research and Development Fund (RDF) to the Federal Consolidated Fund and allowed import of 300,000 tonnes of urea.

 

 

The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

 

The meeting authorised the petroleum ministry to negotiate a government-to-government deal with Qatar for importing 500mmcfd of LNG.

 

The meeting was informed that a four-member committee, comprising Federal Minister Zahid Hamid, minister of state Anusha Rehman and secretaries for law and finance, had formulated amendments in the rules governing the USF and RDF to enable transfer of funds in the federal consolidated fund, commonly known as Account No. 1.

 

The meeting was informed that keeping funds in the accounts of commercial banks was not only violation of the constitution, but also a violation of general financial rules.

 

The committee held that all such funds being kept by any ministry with commercial banks was also a violation of the constitution and general financial rules of the federal government.

 

While approving the amendments proposed by the committee, the ECC directed that all such funds be immediately shifted to the Federal Consolidated Fund.

 

The meeting was also informed that pursuant to the directives of the ECC, the Universal Service Fund and Research and Development Fund constituted under the Pakistan Telecommunications (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, held in accounts with scheduled banks, have been

 

transferred to the Federal Consolidated Fund after necessary amendments in the relevant rules.

 

An official statement said the transfer was in conformity with the provisions of the 1996 Act which stipulate that the funds shall be under the control of the federal government.

 

The USF Rules 2006 also stipulate that the federal government shall have the possession, management and control of the fund, its income, undertakings, properties and assets.

 

Similarly the RDF Rules 2006 state that the federal government shall administer, control and manage the RDF. Provisions in the Act and rules relating to non-lapsing of credit balances in the funds and procedures for release and utilisation of funds therefrom remain unchanged.

 

The meeting noted that Workers’ Welfare Fund and the Export Development Fund, which are of a similar nature, were also held in the Federal Consolidated Fund.

 

The ECC was informed that stock of wheat as on June 24 was 6.4 million tonnes, which shows that sufficient quality of wheat is available for daily release to mills by provincial food departments and Passco.

 

Sufficient stocks of sugar and POL products are also available.

 

The ECC reviewed fertiliser demand and supply situation for Kharif (April-September) season and approved import of total of 300,000 tonnes of urea.

 

The meeting also decided that 60mmcfd gas reserved for Guddo Power Plant from Mari Gas field which was unutilised would be given to fertiliser sector to help produce 50,000 tonnes of fertiliser per month.

 

The ECC was informed according to its decision of June 27, an amount of Rs322bn has been paid to independent power producers after signing of MOU.

 

The MOU required conversion to coal by projects with capacity of more than 2000MW, optimal utilisation of available capacities by IPPs, one month extension in the payment period to power companies and settlement of dues in accordance with provision of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) after withdrawal of cases by nine IPPs from Supreme Court.

 

The ECC was further informed that this would bring an additional 1600-1700MW to the national grid and considerably reduce power shortage in the country and enhance credibility of the country and boost investor confidence.

 

The ECC also decided to liquidate balance of Rs177bn circular debt before July 21 instead of August 10 as originally envisaged.

 

The ECC was informed that month-on-month CPI-based inflation was estimated at 5.9pc in June 2013 with food inflation at 7.9pc and non-food inflation at 4.4pc.



Courtesy:  Dawn


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