ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday decided in principle to prepare buffer stocks for importing additional 200,000 tonnes of wheat and avoid shortages till the next harvest. The final decision will be taken after consultation with all stakeholders.
The decision was taken by the Cabinet’s Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) during a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh.
The Ministry of Food Security and Research presented a detailed summary of the supply of surplus wheat to the Utility Stores Corporation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting was informed about wheat stocks across the country.
The ECC approved an additional amount of 200,000 tonnes of wheat for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 80,000 tonnes for Jammu and Kashmir and 220,000 tonnes of wheat for the Utility Stores Corporation from the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation. The committee also approved the import of additional wheat for stock buffer up till the arrival of fresh crop after getting detailed input from all concerned. The government had set a target of 1.5 million tonnes in October for the Trade Corporation of Pakistan to meet domestic demand. Private importers have also booked almost the same amount of import orders.
Ministers and advisers to the Prime Minister attended the meeting. State Bank of Pakistan Governor Raza Baqir also attended the meeting via video link.
The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary of the removal of 152 tariff lines on a horizontal basis, an additional 2% customs duties on most raw materials, under the National Tariff Policy 2019-24. The ECC approved the summary with the view that the budget cycle should be observed while planning for smooth planning during the financial year and significant incentives for businesses and industries for subsequent implementation. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Trade and Investment Razzaq Dawood said that the tariff lines are mainly in the chemical sector.
“This will be another step towards making our chemical industry more competitive for both the local market and exports. This price reduction has been done after extensive consultation with stakeholders,” Dawood said in a Twitter message.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs submitted a summary to the Port Qasim Authority, Karachi for signing an agreement on infrastructure facilities, sewerage system and water supply system in Gulshan-e-Benazir Township Scheme. The ECC approved projects in principle under the PQA Act 1973, and directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to determine the modalities for awarding contracts in accordance with the rules. Summaries on Textile and Garment Policy (2020-25) and National Freight and Logistics Policy have been postponed to the next ECC for comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders.
The ECC has approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs. 30 million to the Ministry of Defense for the purchase of helicopter spare parts for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, and to set up additional courts in compliance with Supreme Court orders for the Ministry of Justice and Justice. For Rs. 400 million for World Bank International Development Association loan facility, Rs. 2 billion 200 million for court and Higher Education Commission for fulfillment of various distribution related indicators.