ECC Approves Import of Wheat and Urea to Bridge Shortfall

The government on Saturday approved the import of 3 million metric tons of wheat and 200,000 metric tons of urea to bridge the shortfall in the country.

The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, allowed the import of 2 million metric tons of wheat on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and 1 million metric tons through the international tendering process under the existing arrangement and decided that PASSCO would be the recipient agency for the imported wheat.

The ECC further directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) to get the requirements of wheat by the provincial governments. The had submitted a summary on modalities framed for import of wheat in the light of the decisions of the ECC of the cabinet on 09-05-2022 and federal cabinet on 10-05-2022.

The meeting also approved the summary submitted by the Ministry of Industries and Production on the Chinese offer for the import of urea by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) on a G2G basis. The ECC allowed TCP to import 200,000 metric tons of Granular Urea from China on a G2G basis on a deferred payment basis within 90 days.

The meeting approved Rs. 146 billion worth of supplementary grants and technical supplementary grants including Rs. 62.27 billion for the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for making payment of price differential claims (PDCs) to oil marketing companies (OMCs) refineries for the second fortnight of May 2022.

The meeting allowed the import of 2 million metric tons of wheat on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and 1 million metric tons through the international tendering process under the existing arrangement and decided that PASSCO would be the recipient agency for the imported wheat. The ECC further directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) to get the requirements of wheat by the provincial governments. Ministry of National Food Security and Research summary on modalities framed for import of 3 million metric tons of wheat was submitted in the light of the decisions of the ECC of the cabinet on 09-05-2022 and the federal cabinet on 10-05-2022.

On another summary of MNFS&R for Ramzan Package subsidy on wheat flour bridge financing facility for Punjab Food Department, the ECC decided that in case subsidy is not approved by the Punjab cabinet, the shortfall would be bridged by the federal government but the government of Punjab would ensure that provincial cabinet approves the package as soon as its meeting is convened.

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for the grant of extension in the construction period of K-2 from November 30, 2020, to May 21, 2021, and K-3 from September 30, 2021, to April 18, 2022, for ensuring disbursement of the pending loan of $383 million (approximately) before the expiry of loan availability on 03-06-2022 from Exim Bank, China to the contractor, who has already completed the project.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on the continuation of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package for the months of May and June 2022 through USC. The ECC after deliberation allowed the continuation of the existing subsidy for two weeks on essential commodities (Atta, Sugar, Rice, and Pulses), and Rs. 100/kg subsidy on ghee at USC. Finance Division will also release the outstanding amount on account of subsidy under the PM Relief Package approved by the ECC for the previous months.

The meeting also approved Rs. 2.44 billion in favor of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith harmony for grant of one-time support to Pilgrims under the government Hajj Scheme. An amount of Rs. 107.84 million was approved in favor of the Ministry of Interior for maintaining the law and order situation. Rs. 200 million was approved as a grant-in-aid for the Ministry of Law and Justice. Rs. 53.912 million and Rs. 280 million was approved in favor of the Ministry of Housing and Works. Rs. 50 billion was approved in favor of the Power Division with condition that the requisite funding will be provided against future subsidy claims. A transfer of Rs. 24 billion to BISP from the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety (PA&SS) was also approved.

Ministry of Economic Affairs submitted a summary on the exemption from all kinds of taxes and duties on the complete portfolio being executed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). In Pakistan, SFD is providing assistance for various projects including energy, health, education, and infrastructure projects. The ECC, considering the comments of FBR on the subject, suggested that a tax exemption clause for SFD may be inserted in the money bill considering the strong and strategic relationship between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, encompassing economic cooperation and investment.

The Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary of the duty structure on the import of edible palm oil. The ECC allowed removing 2 percent additional custom duties on the import of palm oil for shipments originating from all sources except Indonesia from 10 to 20 June 2022, subject to the approval of the federal cabinet.



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