ECC approves Rs1200b coronavirus relief package

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STAFF REPORTER
ISLAMABAD The Economic Coordination Committee on Monday approved the Rs1,200 billion economic relief package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week. The meeting of the committee was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and gave the final shape to the package so it could be presented before the cabinet for approval when it meets today. PM Imran Khan had on Tuesday unveiled a financial relief package worth around Rs1.2 trillion to ward off the negative impact of the coronavirus on the country and the economy. The package included a reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs15 per litre, the approval of a Rs3,000 monthly stipend for daily wage earners, and a rescue package for exporters and industrialists. “We have provided a relief package to the tune of Rs1.2 trillion, as it did not incorporate tax relief provided through abolishing/ reducing taxes on pulses and palm oil,” Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar had told media when asked about the exact financial impact of relief package announced by the premier. The PM also announced a relief package forindustries and exporters to the tune of Rs200 billion, and said that the FBR was instructed to release Rs100 billion sales tax refunds on an immediate basis. It will help improving liquidity crunch being faced by the exporters, he added. PM Imran said that the principle and mark-up of loans would also be deferred with the help of the Rs100 billion. He further noted that small and medium-sized enterprises would be provided concessional loans and their mark-up payments would also be deferred. “The government has allocated Rs150 billion to provide a Rs3,000 monthly stipend to daily wage earners. The centre will also involve provinces to expand coverage of the programme for maximum beneficiaries,” he said. “The government has increased additional allocation of Rs50 billion for Utility Stores Corporation so that provision of essential food items at affordable prices could be ensured,” the premier announced, adding that Rs280 billion had been set aside for the procurement of wheat. The PM also announced slashing prices of petroleum products by Rs15 per litre, including diesel, petrol and kerosene, with immediate effect. The government estimated that it was going to face hit of Rs75 billion on its petroleum levy over the next three months.