ECC okays 27pc hike in Kissan loan package.

ISLAMABAD -- The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday approved Kissan Package with a 27 per cent increase in agriculture loan target to Rs1.8 trillion and reshaped Kamyab Jawan Programme and Kamyab Pakistan Programmes through consolidation of their similar schemes.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also approved the standard legal framework for mega solar power projects, the transfer of 2,530 kanal land from the State Engineering Corporation of the Ministry of Industries to the Heavy Mechanical Complex of Special Plans Division at a nominal price and further increased the limit for the premium payable on import of high-speed diesel to avert supply chain disruption.

The ECC, however, deferred a demand of the Election Commission of Pakistan for a Rs47.417bn supplementary grant for the conduct of general elections.

On the request of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC formally approved the enhanced Kissan Package already announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Oct 30. Under the package, the target for agriculture loan disbursement has been enhanced to Rs1.802tr from Rs1,419 billion, the price of DAP fertiliser is to come down to Rs11,250 per 50-kg bag from Rs13,750 and interest-free loans would be provided to convert 300,000 tube wells to solar energy. Another part of the package - fixing of electricity tariff of Rs13 per unit - was withdrawn by the Power Division.

The ECC approved the proposal of the Finance Division for revision and renaming of Prime Minister's Kamyab Jawan-Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (PMKJ-YES) as Prime Minister's Youth Business and Agriculture Loan Scheme (PMYB and ALS) to make it more purposeful and beneficial for small businesses and agriculture.

Higher diesel import premiums

Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division told the ECC meeting that ECC on Nov 4 approved an upper limit of $15 per barrel as an import premium for high-speed diesel (HSD). However, while the product was not available in the Gulf market due to its increased demand in Western and European markets, the demand for HSD had substantially increased due to the ongoing sowing season and rehabilitation efforts after the floods in the country.

As a result, there were higher...

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