The ECC approved the import of additional wheat for buffer stock

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in April approved the import of more than 2.5 million tonnes of wheat for buffer stock before fresh crop production and also allowed removal of duty on 152 tariff lines.

According to the Dawn newspaper, the ECC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh also approved supplementary grants worth about Rs. 2.70 billion.

During the meeting, the Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Security, Food and Research, gave a detailed presentation on the availability of wheat stocks across the country. Requested permission for imports.

Later, the ECC, according to the request, provided 200,000 tonnes of additional wheat for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 80,000 tonnes for Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and 220,000 tonnes of wheat for USC to Pakistan Agricultural Cultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASCO). Approved allocation from stocks.

In addition, the ECC, after receiving detailed input from all concerned, also approved the import of surplus wheat to meet the stock till the fresh crop arrives.

It was decided at the meeting that the actual quantity for wheat import should be approved next week on the basis of input from the provinces to avoid any waste of time and any confusion. Crop production will start by the end of March, followed by April in Punjab, but there should be enough buffer stocks to avoid any price hike.

The ECC finally approved the Ministry of Commerce’s summary to remove the additional 2% customs duty on 152 tariff lines on a horizontal basis, mostly raw materials, on a horizontal basis under the National Tariff Policy (NTP) 24-2019.

The issue has been on the ECC’s agenda for several weeks, but could not be approved after opposition from revenue officials argued that such policies should have come in the last quarter of the fiscal year.

Therefore, the ECC, while approving the imposition of 2% additional duty, directed that the budget cycle must be considered while planning the important incentives for businesses and industries for smooth planning and its implementation during the financial year.

In addition, the ECC directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to seek permission for awarding contracts for infrastructure facilities, sewerage systems, and water supply systems in Gulshan-e-Benazir Township Scheme (GBTS) at Port Qasim Authority Karachi. Also saw the summary.

The Economic Coordination Committee approved the projects in principle in compliance with the PQA Act, 1973, but at the same time directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to fix the procedure for awarding contracts in accordance with the rules and Take responsibility for compliance.

The ECC also postponed the approval of the National Freight and Logistics Policy (NFLP) for a comprehensive consultation process with all key stakeholders, including Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, until the next ECC meeting.

The ECC also approved a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) of Rs. 3 crore for the Ministry of Defense for the purchase of spare parts for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government helicopters.

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