Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved a Ramazan Relief Package of Rs 7.6 billion and also allowed the import of cotton through the Torkham border.

It made these approvals in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. During the meeting, the Ministry of Industries presented a Ramzan Relief Package of Rs 6.37 billion. However, because of the increase in the prices of edible oil in the international market, the committee decided to increase the relief package by Rs 1.23 billion.

Through this package, the government will provide 19 food and beverage items through Utility Stores at subsidized rates. The government will subsidize Rs 10 to Rs 50 on different food items. Sugar will be sold at Rs 68 per kg and a 10 kg bag of flour will be provided at Rs 800. Subsidy of Rs 43 on ghee and Rs 20 on edible oil will be provided respectively. On beverages, a subsidy of Rs 20-25 will be given, and the subsidy on pulses will be in the range of Rs 10-30. Apart from this, spices and some other items will be available at a 10 % discount. The package will be implemented from April 1.

To overcome the shortage of cotton for the textile sector, the committee allowed the import of raw cotton through the Torkham border. The cotton will be imported through Afghanistan and the Central Asian States. The permission to import cotton via Torkham will remain applicable till June 30, 2022. The Finance Minister directed the Ministry of Commerce and National Food Security to remove bottlenecks in the import of cotton. The committee also allowed the supply of Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) to two fertilizer plants to overcome the shortage of urea for farmers. The RLNG to these plants will be provided for the next 9 months.

The committee also approved a Rs 1.5 billion grant for the Prime Minister Low-Cost Housing Scheme and also gave a nod to a grant for a COVID-19 related project, which will be implemented through the financial assistance of the World Bank. The committee also approved a supplementary grant for four government departments.

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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