The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is considering different proposals to grant concession/exemption of duties and taxes for the ghee and cooking oil industry in order to minimize the impact of international prices of edible oil on the domestic industry.
Sources told Propakistani that the issue of international prices of edible oil was taken up during the last meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Finance & Revenue.
Ministry of Industries & Production would discuss the possible tax relief to the ghee and cooking oil industry with the FBR.
A tax expert told Propakistani,
In the international market, the freight on board (FoB) price of RBD Palm Oil touched USD 1060/M.Ton on 6th January 2021 highest ever in last 9 years. Thereafter the prices nosedived to USD 940/ M.Ton as of 19th January. The reduction in prices by up to USD 120/M.Ton in a fortnight has stabilized the price of Ghee and Cooking Oil in the local market. The manufacturers have passed on the relief instantly to end consumers due to tough competition and higher ending stocks available domestically.
Consequently, the government may not extend any relief in duty and taxes, especially elimination of ACD which is applicable @ 2% on C&F price as increased by Customs Duty. The relief was expected a couple of weeks ago, which was expected to mitigate the high international prices and remained under discussion in NPMC as proposed by the Ministry of Industries and Production, the tax expert added.
When approached, a senior government official informed Propakistani that the reduction in duties and taxes for the ghee and cooking oil sector like the abolition of the Additional Customs Duty (ADC) is directly linked with the international prices of edible oil. The international price of edible oil is coming down and if the price of the edible oil would further become stable, the FBR may not consider relief for the said industry, he added.
The meeting discussed the prices and supply position of essential food items including Wheat, Sugar, Ghee and perishable items. It was attended by Minister Industries & Production, Minister National Food Security & Research, Special Assistant to the Prime minister on Revenue, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Industries & Production, Chairman FBR, Member CCP, Chairman TCP, MD PASSCO, MD USC, Member IT/HRM & Member National Accounts from PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division.
The Finance Secretary suggested the provincial governments need to keep a close watch on the prices of sugar and to ensure an uninterrupted supply of sugar. He further added that prices of Palm oil and Soyabean oil in the intentional market are on a rising trend and now its impact is being witnessed in the domestic prices of edible oil.
Secretary NFS&R informed that the Balochistan government has started lifting their previously committed stock of wheat 10,000 MT as per NPMC’s decision in the last meeting. So far they have lifted 6760 MT and the remaining quantity of 3300 MT will be picked up soon. He further informed that supply will be smooth in the future and there will be no shortage.
Minister for NFS&R briefed NPMC about the current status of wheat stock across the country and reiterated the need for importing 300,000 MT of wheat to buffer up stocks before the arrival of the next crop. The Committee directed TCP to import wheat at the earliest to continue its uninterrupted supply at a fair price.
Secretary, Food’ Punjab informed that the price of wheat in the province is stable. Secretory Industries Punjab informed that on the direction of NPMC, they have taken strict action against the exploitation of middle man in the sugarcane market. He informed that the price of sugar is also stable in the province however in some areas marginal hike is observed due to fog and weather conditions.
Minister for Industries & Production appreciated the efforts of the Punjab Government to minimize the role of the middle man. He added that a summary is to be forwarded for additional import of sugar to stabilize sugar prices and ensure smooth supply.
He further informed that a meeting will be held with FBR to review the taxes/duties on essential items to minimize the impact of the spike in international prices of edible oil. The Chair directed that the Minister of Industries & Production should look into this matter toes to provide relief to the common man.
Member IT, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) presented before NPMC a live dashboard of prices of essential items for comparative analysis in real-time. The system is prepared by PBS to monitor food prices and figure out price fluctuations for timely decision making and smooth coordination among Provincial governments and concerned departments.
The Chair directed to expedite the same and share the system with the provincial government in order to gauge the price differential among different cities.
PBS to hold a meeting with provincial governments to remove price disparity of essential items and existing data gaps in the reporting mechanism.
Allot detail deliberations, following decisions, were taken:-
- M/o NFS&R will hold a meeting with stakeholders to review the existing wheat stock position and the additional requirement of wheat till April 2021 and to decide if additional wheat is required to be imported to meet the domestic demand and maintain the strategic reserves before the arrival of the new wheat crop. TCP to expedite the processes for import of wheat in order to avoid any future possibility of shortages.
- Utility Stores Corporation should review the demand and supply position of sugar by keeping in view the available stocks as well as their additional requirement and coordinate the matter with M/o Industries & Production.
- The PBS should share their dashboard of rates comparison mechanism with provincial governments so that price hike of essential commodities may be effectively controlled across the provinces/districts.
- M/o of Planning Development and Special Initiatives/PBS to hold a meeting with provincial governments to remove price disparity of essential items and existing data gaps in the reporting mechanism.