ECC okays import of 0.5m tonnes of wheat

Mehtab Haider
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has granted approval for the import of 500,000 tonnes of wheat at $439.4 per tonne against the initial tender price of $515.49 per tonne.

Besides, the ECC allowed import from Afghanistan in Pak Rupees and allocated Rs51.224 billion in subsidies for the provision of five essential items through the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) in the current fiscal year.

The ECC also approved a supplementary grant of Rs193 billion for repayment of foreign loans, keeping in view depreciated exchange rate. The government had envisaged the allocation of debt repayments on the basis of the exchange rate of Rs160 against the dollar. However, the exchange rate parity was depreciated and notified at Rs175 against the dollar. The requirement for repayment of principal and mark-up of foreign loans escalated and went up by Rs193 billion for the last fiscal year 2021-22.

The ECC also approved the Auction Supervisory Committee under the chair of minister for finance for selling remaining spectrum during the current fiscal year whereas the government wanted to sell more spectrum to existing players for improving data connectivity.

According to official press release issued here on Tuesday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Finance Division.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary on urgent advice related to award of second international wheat tender 2022 opened on July 01, 2022 for 500,000 tonnes. The ECC considering the lower trend of wheat in the international market approved the lowest bid offer of M/s Cargill Int. PTE /Cargill Agro Foods Pakistan at $439.40 per tonne for 110,000 tonnes.

The Ministry of National Food Security & Research submitted a summary on WPF operation purchase/ reservation of 120,000 tonnes of wheat for Afghanistan in the year 2022-23. In view of the situation in Afghanistan and on humanitarian ground, the ECC approved the request of the WFP for purchase/ reservation of 120,000 tonnes of wheat from the imported wheat stock of PASSCO on the latest import price. The amount of supplied wheat along with cost and incidentals would be charged in US dollars. The wheat will be locally grinded into flour and supplied to Afghanistan by WFP, subject to relaxation of ban on the export of flour to the extent of the instant proposal of 120,000 tonnes of wheat.

The Ministry of National Food Security & Research presented another summary on the declaration of “National Disease Emergency” on account of emergence of lumpy skin disease in Pakistan. The ECC after detailed discussion directed the Ministry of National Food Security & Research to prepare a cost-sharing plan after convening a meeting with concerned provincial secretaries and NDMA.

The Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary to seek permission for one time release of those consignments of items banned on May 19, 2022, which have reached Pakistan or would reach or their payments. In order to resolve the hardship cases, the ECC granted one-time special permission for release of consignments stuck at the ports due to contravention framed under SRO 598(I)/2022 dated May 19,2022, only for those consignments which have landed at ports or airports in Pakistan on or before June 30, 2022.

The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary on suspension of import conditions contained in import policy order 2022 with regard to import of timber. In view of hardship case of timber importers as the consignments were supplied against contracts months ago and the shipments have already arrived, the ECC decided that date of implementation of IPO 2022 regarding import of timber and wood falling under HS Codes 4401 to 4409 may be suspended till August 31, 2022.

The ECC also approved another summary of the Ministry of Commerce to amend paragraph 3(1) of the Import policy Order 2022 to allow import of goods of Afghan origin against Pak Rupee and without the requirement of EIF forms for a period of one year, subject to the condition that Afghan exporters will provide a certificate of origin issued by Afghan Customs proving that the goods have originated from Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on continuation of PM’s relief package, 2020, Sasta Atta initiative for KPK & expansion of Utility Stores network across Pakistan. The ECC decided to continue subsidy on five essential commodities with direction to M/o I & P to work out feasible proposal on subsidy programme keeping in mind the financial implications.

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication on constitution of Auction Advisory Committee to oversee spectrum auction(s) for next generation mobile services (NGMS) in Pakistan. The committee will be headed by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue. The ECC also approved supplementary grant in favor of Economic Affairs Division amounting to Rs193.006 billion for foreign loan repayments.