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ECC approves Rs5.6 billion additional guarantee for PIA

Updated February 13, 2019

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A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee on Tuesday approved additional guarantee of Rs5.6 billion for national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines. — File
A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee on Tuesday approved additional guarantee of Rs5.6 billion for national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines. — File

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday approved the provision of an additional guarantee of Rs5.6 billion for the cash-strapped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

In a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, members of the committee sanctioned the financial support package for the national flag carrier for the repair and maintenance of engines as well as for the acquisition of related spare parts in order to operationalise its grounded planes.

The move is expected to strengthen the airline's route rationalisation initiatives and add to its revenue generation capacity.

In November 2018, the ECC had approved a financial support package worth Rs17.022bn for PIA.

Plan for enhancing cotton output

The ECC also directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) to present a plan within 30 days for strengthening research and development services for different crops, with a particular focus on cotton, to enhance the output of crops in the country.

It also approved other measures for the uplift of the cotton crop in the country, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The MNFSR secretary delivered a detailed presentation on the issues and challenges faced by the cotton sector. Experts in cotton production, who were specially invited to the meeting, also gave their input for developing the crop.

The ECC decided that the ministry would also submit a plan for the revitalisation of federal institutions tasked with the responsibility of developing the cotton sector.

The MNFSR was directed to expedite efforts for implementing 'Pink Bollworm Ropes' technology to counter insect attacks which impede cotton growth.

Additionally, the committee asked the Ministry of Industries and Production to take measures for the recovery of cotton cess from textile mills in order to provide an impetus to cotton promotion activities that are to be funded through the levy.

Read more: ECC allows duty-free cotton imports