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PM Shehbaz Sharif hands over ECC to finance minister

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ISLAMABAD: Only a day after announcing formation of seven committees of the cabinet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has decided to hand over the chairmanship of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, sources in the government told Dawn.

The prime minister, however, will continue to head the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE), they said, adding the prime minister took the decision at a meeting on Saturday. Confirming the development, a senior member of the cabinet told that the prime minster had regretted he would be unable to chair the ECC meetings due to his hectic schedule and engagements.

On Friday, the prime minister had constituted seven committees and, according to the official notification, he himself was to head the ECC and CCoE.

In the past, the finance minister used to preside over the meetings of the ECC.

The cabinet member said the PM would oversee the functions of the two committees and guide the members whenever his consent or command was required. He said the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, had also headed the CCoE during the previous PML-N government.

The ECC will now comprise the ministers for finance, economic affairs, commerce, power, petroleum and planning & development, and a notification in this regard is expected to be issued soon, said the sources.

The ECC is considered to be the most important committee of the cabinet as its terms of reference include consideration of all urgent economic matters and coordination of economic policies initiated by various divisions of government, to identify and propose measures for the gradual attainment of the status of a welfare state, maintain vigilance on the monetary and credit situation and make proposals for the regulation of credit in order to maximise production and exports and to prevent inflation.