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September 19, 2019

ECC extends ban on export of wheat


September 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday extended ban on export of wheat and wheat flour to check price hike in the country.

The ECC further directed the ministry of finance to call an early meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee to assess the wheat and flour supply situation in various parts of the country, including the federal capital in view of recent reports of rising prices of some core food items, including flour.

The committee took the decision during a meeting which met at the cabinet block with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.

The ECC thoroughly discussed the wheat situation in the country and in the light of a briefing by the ministry of national food security and research decided to continue ban on export of wheat flour. It decided to propose to provincial governments to undertake a fresh stock-taking of wheat in warehouses to ensure that adequate supplies would be available in the winter season.

In July, the ECC slapped ban on wheat and wheat flour to control price rise despite surplus stocks available in the country. Wheat production stood at 24.279 million tons during 2018/19, an official estimate said. Added with carryover stocks of 3.721 million tons, total stocks came at 28 million tons compared with the local demand of 25.8 million tons.

The ECC further approved separate proposals for payment of more than Rs1.5 billion subsidy charges to the executing agencies of the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme as well as transfer of two billion rupees of funds from the cabinet to the planning, development and reform division as a technical supplementary grant.

Under the scheme, the rate of return for executing agencies is one year Karachi interbank offered rate (Kibor) along with five percent. Out of this, a borrower needs to pay only six percent as fixed rate and the remaining would be borne by the federal government as service charges subsidy. Banks would apply preceding month’s last working day Kibor for next month’s disbursements.

The ECC, after considering a proposal by the finance division, approved a technical supplementary grant in cost centre (KA-3012) Prime Minister’s youth business loan scheme from development expenditure of the finance division in favour of development expenditure outside the public sector development program during the current fiscal year.

The ECC approved a proposal by the planning, development and reform division for surrender of funds from its demand related to sustainable development goals achievement program in favour of the planning, development and reform division for the current fiscal year as a technical supplementary grant to meet the requirements of important projects without affecting the overall public sector development program’s allocation of the federal government.

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