Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has allowed the import of cement without withholding tax and customs duty, but imports will continue to be subject to sales tax.
The cancellation of the six percent withholding tax and 25 percent customs duty is meant to rationalise cement prices, which have swelled to Rs 300 per bag, an official who attended the ECC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday told Daily Times. But sales tax of 15 percent will remain at the import stage. “The import of unlimited quantities of cement from any country has been allowed,” he added.
The ECC also approved an increase in the concession period for hydropower projects in the private sector from 25 to 50 years, the official said. Under the earlier policy, hydropower projects built by private companies on a build operate and transfer basis were transferred to the government after 25 years. With the new concession period, the tariff will be spread over 50 years and so be lower.