ECC okays import of three million tonnes of wheat

Mehtab Haider
Sunday, May 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The ECC has granted approval to the import of three million tons of wheat. Of the total wheat, two million tons will be imported on a government-to-government basis while the remaining through open tendering.

At a time when the wheat prices are rising in the international market, the government is moving towards imports to avoid a shortfall. Wheat production stands at 26.3 million tons and there is a shortage of five million tons to meet the domestic requirements and build strategic reserves to avoid exploitation in domestic market in future.

Federal Finance and Revenue Minister Miftah Ismail presided over a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Finance Division Saturday. Federal Industries and Production Minister Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmood, Federal Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Abdul Shakoor, State Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha, State Minister for Petroleum Division Musadik Masood Malik, federal secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting.

The National Food Security and Research Ministry submitted a summary on modalities framed for the import of three million tons of wheat in the light of the decisions of ECC and the federal cabinet. The ECC directed the ministry to get wheat requirements of provincial governments. The ECC also approved a summary submitted by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for grant of extension to the construction period of K-2 from Nov 30, 2020 to May 21, 2021 and K-3 from Sep 30, 2021 to April 18, 2022, for ensuring disbursement of pending loan of $383 million (approx.) before expiry of loan availability on June 03, 2022, from Exim Bank, China, to the contractor, who had already completed the project.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on the continuation of PM's relief package 2020 for the months of May and June, 2022, through the USC. The ECC, after deliberation, allowed continuation of existing subsidy for two weeks on essential commodities and Rs100/kg subsidy on ghee at the USC. The Finance Division would also release the outstanding amount on account of subsidy under the PM's Relief Package 2020 approved by the ECC for the previous months.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted another summary on Chinese offer of import of urea by TCP on a G2G basis. The ECC allowed the TCP to import 200,000 metric ton granular urea from China on a G2G basis on a deferred payment basis within 90 days. The Ministry of Economic Affairs submitted a summary on exemption from all kinds of taxes and duties on the complete portfolio being executed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).

The ECC considering the FBR comments on the subject suggested that tax exemption clause for SFD may be inserted in the Money Bill considering strong and strategic relationship between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, encompassing economic cooperation and investment. The Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary on duty structure on import of edible palm oil. The ECC allowed removing two per cent additional custom duties on import of palm oil for shipments originating from all sources except Indonesia for June 10-20, 2022, subject to approval of the federal cabinet.