ECC approves Rs3.86bn to shied FBR against cyberattacks

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Islamabad

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet has approved Rs3.86 billion to upgrade IT infrastructure of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in view of increased frequency and severity of cyberattacks to ensure elimination of risk to taxpayers data.

Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin presided over the ECC meeting on Wednesday.

The federal cabinet a day earlier allowed the FBR to hire services for making its data more secure following a cyberattack on August 14 this year.

Hackers had attacked the website of the FBR, but most of its data remained safe and an operational emergency was declared to secure its data.

Meanwhile in the ECC meeting, the Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary requesting for provision of RLNG to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) based plants (Agritech and Fatima Fertilizer) during Rabi season 2021-22.

The ECC approved provision of 70 MMG RLNG with the direction to hold a consultative session with the representatives of fertilizer manufactures to work out overall demand for urea in the country.

The ECC further directed to consider the possibility to import urea (if needed) to maintain buffer stocks.

The ECC considered and approved a summary tabled by the Aviation Division for the GOP cash support as required by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The airline has experienced a significant dip in revenues and cash flows due to pandemic and unprecedented travel bans/lockdowns imposed by various countries.

Moreover, the ECC also approved the enhancement of existing approved guarantees enabling PIA to overcome its financial challenges.

The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding revocation of the conditions of minimum export price (MEP) on export of surgical instruments with the exception of “single-use” surgical instruments.

After due deliberation, the ECC approved that the necessary amendments be made in the Export Policy Order, 2020 to revoke the condition of MEP in order to make Pakistani exports competitive in the global market.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary before the forum for provision of wheat to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), out of PASSCO stock, for the financial year 2021-22.

The ECC approved the provision of 300,000 MT of wheat to AJK at the ratio of 80:20 as a mixture of local/imported stock.

The finance minister stated that the government is firmly committed to stabilising the prices of wheat and ensuring its smooth supply at affordable prices across the country.

Those who attended the meeting included Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi, Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, federal secretaries, chairman FBR, deputy chairman planning and other senior officers. Governor SBP Dr Reza Baqir also participated through a video link. —TLTP

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