Cabinet committee decides to expand Kamyab Pakistan Program nationwide amidst low disbursement thus far
The federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Thursday granted till June 2022 tax and duty exemptions for the import and supply of oxygen for medical purposes to help Pakistan counter the ongoing fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement issued by the Press Information Department, the ECC approved the exemptions after deliberating on a summary presented by Ministry of Industries and Production regarding the uninterrupted supply of oxygen gas in the country for medical purposes. The Finance Ministry and the Federal Board of Revenue had both opposed the exemption.
The Industries ministry also presented a summary to fix the price of imported urea, with the ECC approving Rs. 12.4 billion to import 100,000 metric tons of the product from China. It said that the imported urea would be subsidized by Rs. 9.3 billion, adding that this would be provided on an “equal cost sharing” basis between the federal and provincial governments.
The ECC set the dealer transfer price for 50kg imported urea bags at Rs. 1,718/bag, excluding the dealer margin of Rs. 50/bag. As part of efforts to shore up urea supplies, the ECC also approved a proposal of the Industries ministry to prioritize the berthing of urea vessels at the Karachi port.
Following a briefing on the Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP) by the Finance Division, the ECC decided to expand it nationwide but opted against enhancing the overall lending amount, as the project has only managed to disburse Rs. 1.4 billion in its first quarter against the budgeted target of Rs. 30 billion. The finance ministry said that it had proposed the KPP’s expansion as per already-approved features by the cabinet to enhance its outreach and impact. The program’s lending partners, the Akhuwat Foundation and the National Rural Support Program, had earlier informed the finance ministry that its impact was limited since it was limited to Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and “special areas” such as the most impoverished districts of Sindh and Punjab.
The ECC also gave principal approval to a summary presented by Ministry of Defense Production to extend a $50 million Defense Credit Line Facility to Sri Lanka to enhance bilateral defense and security cooperation. This facility had been announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan during a visit to Colombo in February 2021.
During its proceedings, the ECC approved a Rs. 200 million supplementary budget to help operationalize three hospitals in Afghanistan. Launched in 2014, the project has already cost Rs. 1.9 billion.
It also approved Rs. 18.3 billion budget for the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold local government elections in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad, as well as the periodic revision of electoral rolls.
The ECC meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and was attended by National Food Security and Research Minister Syed Fakhar Imam; Planning Minister Asad Umar; Industries and Production Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, and relevant federal secretaries and senior officers.