The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Saturday approved the first tranche of $16.46 million for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the induction of 15 aircraft into its fleet on dry lease.
In a meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECC approved, in principle, the release of the first tranche for December out of a total of $52 million requested by PIA.
This amount would be injected as equity by the government and the air carrier would complete all formalities in this regard, fully adhering to the procurement rules, said the Ministry of Finance in a press release.
The ECC constituted a committee comprising finance secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan chairman and petroleum and natural resources secretary to analyse PIA’s financial statements and projections before the second tranche was released.
The meeting participants decided that PIA would revert to the ECC after December 20, when the amount granted would be fully exhausted, for a fresh instalment, which would be released on a monthly basis according to the requirement.
The ECC directed the PIA authorities to inform the committee at least two weeks before the actual payments were due so that timely release of funds could be ensured.
It also approved the establishment of an inland container terminal in Sialkot under the Customs Act 1969, which would not only facilitate exporters but would also improve services and create a healthy competition.
The ECC also gave its consent to the allocation of gas from existing and new gas fields as requested by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. According to the approved plan, an additional 30 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) from Adhi field would be allocated to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), enabling it to meet its existing contractual obligations.
One mmcfd of Gopang gas and 2 mmcfd of Nim-01 gas would be allocated to Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC). A consistent decline in gas production from existing fields has triggered a huge gap between demand and supply in the natural gas distribution system.
The ECC was also informed that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources was vigorously pursuing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and transnational gas pipeline projects to help sustain supplies in the domestic system.
Speaking on the occasion, the finance minister reiterated that the proposals submitted to the ECC must properly reflect financial implications of the projects and encompass all related aspects.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2014.
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