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Saturday November 27, 2021

ECC approves sugar import, fertiliser subsidy

July 17, 2021
ECC approves sugar import, fertiliser subsidy

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Friday approved import of 200,000 tons sugar, subsidy on DAP fertiliser for cotton and rice crops and procurement of 200,000 cotton bales by Trading Corporation of Pakistan.

The ECC also granted approval for increasing rates of sugar, wheat flour and ghee at Utility Stores Corporation (USC) of Pakistan. The price of sugar was jacked up from Rs68 per kg to Rs85 per kg, ghee from Rs170 to Rs260 per kg and Atta from Rs850 per bag to Rs950 per bag at USC.

The ECC also granted approval for the draft policy directives related to auction of next generation mobile services (NGMS) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin chaired the meeting of ECC.

The committee approved the revision in prices of three essential commodities namely Atta (20kg bag) to Rs950, ghee per kilogram to Rs260 and sugar per kilogram to Rs85, respectively owing to an increasing gap between the subsidised prices offered by Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and the prevailing market prices. The committee approved revision in prices of three essential commodities to rationalise provision of subsidies by the USC.

The ECC considered and approved a summary regarding the elimination of documents attestation fee for goods imported into Pakistan from Kenya as this non-tariff measure increases cost of business and transaction time.

A summary regarding non-cash settlement for power sector re-lent loans against subsidies payable by the government equal to Rs116 billion was also approved. ECC approved the amendment in its earlier decision regarding the Prime Minister’s fiscal package for agriculture in the wake of COVID-19 kharif. The package offered subsidy on diammonium phosphate at Rs1,500/acre for cotton and rice crops, during the kharif season 2021. Now according to the amendment, the farmers can avail subsidy on any phosphatic fertiliser according to their choice.

The ECC approved Kamyab Pakistan program, a flagship program to extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs and farmers. The program will also provide low cost housing loans. The Kamyab Pakistan program also includes an ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training. The program is aimed at extending loans to four million households at the lowest strata.

Loans worth Rs500,000, Rs150,000 and Rs200,000 through micro-finance providers for Kamyab Karobar and Kamyab Kissan at zero percent mark-up will be provided. The third component of the scheme is introduction of a new tier in Naya Pakistan low cost housing scheme wherein loans of Rs2.7 million and Rs2 million projects will be given at subsidised rates.

The ECC also considered and approved the draft policy directives related to auction of next generation mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir as submitted by the ministry of information technology and telecommunication before the committee. This is the first time that the NGMS will be auctioned in Kashmir and it will improve mobile broadband services in the region. Moreover, ECC also decided that for the payment of the auctioned licence fee, the method in-vogue in the earlier auction processes will be followed.

The ministry of maritime affairs presented a summary regarding award of engineering consultancy service contract for up-gradation of Port Qasim Authority amounting to Rs86.6 million. The ECC approved the execution of the project.

ECC allowed Post Qasim Authority, Karachi Port Trust and Gwadar Port Authority Boards to transfer their Marine assets to the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company Private Limited, a subsidiary of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. The maximum rates to be charged by the Pakistan Marine and Shipping Services Company from the public sector ports and harbours will be determined from time to time by the ministry of maritime affairs through a notification in the official gazette.

The ministry of national food security and research presented a summary regarding procurement of 200,000 cotton bales by Trading Corporation of Pakistan to promote cotton production and bring stability in the domestic market. The ECC also approved the formation of a cotton price review committee with a mandate to review market price and propose intervention on a fortnightly basis.