ECC approves Rs 1bn guarantee to PIA for smooth Hajj operation

* ECC considers Water and Power Ministry’s summary to attract private sector investment in projects

ISLAMABAD: The Federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday approved provision of government’s guarantee worth Rs 1 billion to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from a private bank. 
The ECC also directed quarters concerned to utilise the loan for engine and component support programme and to ensure fuel supply to the national flag carrier for a smooth Hajj operation.
The ECC met under Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at P-Block Auditorium. The committee considered and approved the summary of the Aviation Division for provision of the guarantee to support the facility of Rs 1 billion to PIA from a private bank.
Dar underlined the need to improve PIA performance both financially and with provision of quality service to its clients. He said that the organisation had to follow cash flow discipline in order to effectively pursue its turnaround plan. 
The ECC also considered a summary of the Water and Power Ministry for allowing the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) to approach the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority for approval of the agreed tariff with the Power Generation and Transmission Management Company, Iran (TAVANIR) and of power acquisition request.
Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif told the meeting that the contract was not hit by the UN sanctions and the ministry intends to import 1000MW of electricity from Iran in the coming years. 
At present, the NTDC is buying 74MW from TAVANIR Iran since November 2002 for supply to Mekran Division, Balochistan. The contract between the two expired on 31 December 2013. However, TAVANIR has agreed to provide electricity for another term ending 31st December 2014 on the same tariff.
Dar laid emphasis on the ministries concerned to expedite payment of arrears of TANAVIR by working with the Iranian side on exchange of wheat and rice for the arrears. 
The meeting also considered summary of the Water and Power Ministry for approval of policy to attract private sector investment in transmission lines projects.
The ECC was informed that due to large-scale capacity additions in the electricity generation system there would be a need to put in place additional transmission networks. Under the draft policy, the private sector will be invited for investment in the new transmission lines to reduce burden on the public sector. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman informed the ECC that the draft policy was not circulated to the FBR and to examine its implications on revenue generation, necessary time be given for their comments. 
Dar observed that all stakeholders have not been consulted on this important issue and hence the summary will be considered in the next ECC meeting after detailed review by the Law Division and FBR.   
The meeting was attended by Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid, National Food Security Minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Textile Industry Minister Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Anusha Rehman, SBP Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Privatisation Commission Chairman Muhammad Zubair and SECP Chairman Tahir Mehmood.

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