900 cars stuck up at Karachi Port : ECC gives clearance to release vehicles, imposes penalties

900 cars stuck up at Karachi Port : ECC gives clearance to release vehicles, imposes penalties
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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Tuesday allowed one time waiver subject to the payment of 20 percent of the cost and freight (C&F) value as surcharge for clearance of around 900 cars stuck at the Karachi Port.
These cars were subject to confiscation upon import into Pakistan and allowing this facility to importers, ECC actually helped legalise these cars imported illegally into the country at the cost of local industry, industry sources believe.
However, ECC also approved procurement of 75,000 tonnes sugar through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) as well as Standardised Security Agreements (Project Agreements) for Up-front Tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse and biomass) for facilitating power generation by 2,000 megawatts (MW). 
The meeting of the ECC held at the Prime Minister’s Office under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar decided to grant one time waiver for clearance of used vehicles by importers of cars manufactured in the year 2009.
It may be recalled that it came to the notice of the finance minister during a presentation made by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recently that hundreds of cars were stuck up at the Karachi Port for which a representation had also been made to him during his recent visit to Karachi.
The Ministry of Commerce informed the ECC that around 900 vehicles of 2009 model were stuck up on the ports due to confusion in determination of age of cars.
In order to permit the clearance of cars, ECC decided to grant a one-time waiver, where the date of Export General Manifest (EGM) is prior to December 31, 2013, subject to payment of surcharge.
ECC approved that the surcharge for the first eight months beyond the prescribed age limit of three years shall be calculated on rates stipulated in Ministry of Commerce OM dated February 25, 2013 and an additional surcharge for the period (maximum four months) beyond three years and eight months at a flat rate of 20 percent of the C&F value.
The powers to condone age beyond prescribed age limit, delegated to Collectors Customs, vide Ministry of Commerce OM dated February 25, 2013 and June 15, 2012 was also withdrawn by ECC subject to two months public notice.
ECC however, permitted the relevant Customs Collectorate may continue to be delegated by the authority for condoning delay in shipment by 30 days beyond the prescribed 120 days Para 4(1)(b) and 4(3)(c) of the Appendix-E of IPO 2013, against an additional surcharge of 5.0 percent.
The ECC also approved to extend a fresh guarantee of government of Pakistan to the tune of Pak Rs 2.0 billion in favour of Faysal Bank Ltd to provide loan to Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC). The loan would be utilised to pay instalment to Exim Bank as well as partial overdues of Pakistan State Oil. The ECC also noted that PIA was obtaining another loan of Rs 3.40 billion from National Bank of Pakistan by pledging its domestic cash flow.
The ECC directed the Aviation Secretary Muhammad Ali Gardezi to place before it the latest financial position of PIA as well as progress on the acquisition of 10 aircraft approved by the ECC within one month.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal observed that there should be visible improvement in the conditions at the airports and no smoking should be strictly enforced.
On a summary moved by Ministry of Commerce regarding an earlier observation by the ECC on December 6, 2013 for streamlining the procurement of sugar by TCP, the ECC decided to allow TCP to purchase 75,000 tonnes in the first month and 50,000 tonnes per month subsequently with the condition that it will inform about the progress to the ECC by the end of February 2014. The decision has been taken in view of the fact that this is the middle of the crushing season and the sugarcane production is projected to be very good.
The ECC approved establishment of monitoring unit in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to evaluate its performance and that this cell shall submit quarterly reports before it.
The monitoring unit shall oversee the setting up of benchmarks and keep performance indicators for power distribution companies (DISCOs) and generation companies (GENCOs) and other entities and organisations under the Ministry of Water and Power. Monthly monitoring of the above benchmarks, periodic dissemination and public reporting of the data relating to financials and key performance indicators of the entities in the power sector, coordination with the Ministry of Finance for follow up on key commitments on energy sector reforms programmes with the International Financial Institutions, coordination with relevant agencies to ensure progress and compliance with respect to various projects. The ECC also decided to set up a similar unit in the Ministry of Water and Power with similar terms of reference.
The ECC approved the National Power Tariff and Subsidy Policy Guideline 2014 placed before it by the Ministry of Water and Power as it was in line with Section 7 of the NEPRA Act.
The Ministry of Water and Power informed the ECC that the amount of bagasse produced by sugar mills in the country had the potential to generate over 2,000 MW electricity.
In this connection ECC approved the Standardized Security Agreements (Project Agreements) for Up-front Tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse and biomass) and AEBD/CPPA was authorised to approve any project specific amendments in Standardized Security Agreements (project agreements) for Up-Front Tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse and biomass) during negotiations subject to provision of legal opinion in order not to increase the government’s obligations or liabilities beyond the provisions of the Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse and biomass) and the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006.

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