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PM removes Dar, takes helm as new ECC chairman

PM removes Dar, takes helm as new ECC chairman

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday reconstituted the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and decided to become its chairman, removing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as this important body’s head.

It is for the first time in the past 10 years when a prime minister has decided to be the ECC chairman. For most of the tenure of the previous PPP government and the past four years of the PML-N administration, the finance minister had been the chairman of the ECC.

The decision shows that Abbasi wants to steer the energy agenda, unlike during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure when he had to repeatedly request Dar to call ECC meetings for taking decisions on important matters.

Former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Shaukat Aziz used to chair ECC meetings. However, ex-premier Sharif never chaired the ECC sittings while former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired ECC meetings for a few months until Shaukat Tarin was appointed the adviser on finance in August 2008.

“The prime minister has been pleased to reconstitute the ECC of the cabinet and its chairman will be prime minister himself,” said a Cabinet Division notification of August 10.

The ECC will comprise ten regular members including the finance minister, minister for commerce and textile, minister for communication, minister for industries and production, minister for law and justice, minister for national food security, minister for privatisation, minister for railways, minister for statistics and minister for water resources, according to the notification.

However, in the absence of the prime minister due to other commitments, the finance minister would chair the ECC meeting, it said.