Pre-empting shortage and rising prices, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Saturday decided to import two million tonnes of wheat on a government-to-government (G2G) basis, while one million tonnes through an international tendering process under the existing arrangement.

The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail also approved supplementary grants of nearly Rs123 billion including one for payments to lawyers’ associations and subsidy amount on petroleum products differential claims of oil companies.

The meeting reviewed the wheat situation in the country and directed the Ministry of Food Security to get the requirements of wheat by the provincial governments.

Wheat production decreased from 27.5m tonnes in 2020-21 to 26.4m tonnes in 2021-22.

The ECC after deliberation allowed the continuation of the existing subsidy for two weeks on essential commodities — wheat flour (atta), sugar, rice, and pulses, and Rs100/kg subsidy on ghee at Utility Stores. The finance division will also release the outstanding amount on account of subsidy under the PM Relief Package–2020 approved by the ECC for the previous months.

ECC allowed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to import 200,000 tonnes of granular urea from China on a G2G basis on a deferred payment basis within 90 days.

The ECC approved a summary for removing 2pc additional custom duty on the import of palm oil for shipments originating from all sources except Indonesia for June 10-20, 2022, subject to the approval of the federal cabinet.

On the issue of bridge financing facility for Punjab Food Department for Ramazan package subsidy on wheat flour, the ECC decided that in case subsidy is not approved by the Punjab cabinet, the shortfall will be bridged by the federal government but the government of Punjab will ensure that provincial cabinet approves the package as soon as its meeting is convened.

The ECC approved an extension in the construction period of K-2 from Nov 30, 2020 to May 21, 2021 and K-3 from Sept 30, 2021 to April 18, 2022 for ensuring the disbursement of a pending loan of $383 million before the expiry of its availability on June 3, 2022, from the Exim Bank of China to the contractor, who has already completed the project.

The ECC also approved technical supplementary grants/supplementary grants of Rs62.27bn for the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for making payment of price differential claims (PDCs) to oil marketing companies and refineries for the second fortnight of May.

The meeting approved Rs7.55bn for the Federal Directorate of Immunisation, Rs2.44bn for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for grant of one-time support to pilgrims under the government haj scheme, Rs107.84m for the Ministry of Interior for maintaining law and order situation.


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