ECC approves hike in prices of sugar, wheat flour, edible ghee

ECC approves hike in prices of sugar, wheat flour, edible ghee

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Friday approved increase in prices of three essential items.

Shaukat Tarin, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired the meeting.

Ministry of Industries and Production presented a summary regarding extension of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020. The package has provided subsidies on five essential commodities from July 15, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The extension has been provided till the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system becomes fully operational.

Moreover, the ECC also approved the revision in prices of three essential commodities namely Atta (20 kg bag) to Rs. 950, Ghee (per kg) to Rs. 260 and Sugar (per kg) to Rs. 85 respectively. The increase was granted because of increasing gap between the subsidized prices and the prevailing market prices.

The committee approved revision in prices of three essential commodities to rationalize provision of subsidies by the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, SAPM on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Communication, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Governor SBP, Chairman PTA and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

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 (NTM). The decision by the Committee would facilitate trade between the two countries and enhance Pakistan’s market share in the region.

The ECC approved a summary regarding non-cash settlement for power sector re-lent loans against subsidies payable by the government amounting Rs.116 billion.

The ECC approved “Kamyab Pakistan Program”. A flagship program which shall extend micro-loans to entrepreneurs and farmers under “Kamyab Karobar” and “Kamyab Kissan” schemes respectively.

The program shall also provide low cost housing loans through NAPHDA. The Kamyab Pakistan Program also includes ongoing skill development program for educational and vocational training under the title “Kamyab Hunarmand”.

The Kamyab Pakistan Program is aimed at extending loans to 04 million households at the lowest strata, as registered with the National Socio Economic Registry (NSER) of Ehsaas. Loans worth Rs.0.5 million, Rs.0.150 million and Rs.0.2 million through Micro-Finance Providers for Kamyab Karobar and Kamyab Kissan at 0% 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 Rs.2.7 million (for NAPHDA) and Rs.2 million (for Non-NAPHDA) projects will be given at subsidized rates.

The salient features of the Kamyab Pakistan Program include loan size of Rs.150,000 (per crop) for purchase of agricultural inputs. The commutative disbursement under the program would be Rs.1.6 billion over the period of 03 years. It shall benefit 30,00,000 families.

The ECC commended all concerned for working out such a detailed program aimed at “bottom-up approach” for reducing poverty as envisaged by the Prime Minister.

The Finance Minister stated that the consultative process was followed in working out modalities of the Kamyab Pakistan Program ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are on board and micro-loans shall be disbursed as per the given criteria.

The ECC also considered and approved the Draft Policy Directives related to Auction of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) 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 AJK 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. Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented a summary regarding award of Engineering Consultancy Service contract for up-gradation of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) amounting to Rs.86.6 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 (PMSSC), a subsidiary of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.

The maximum rates to be charged by the Pakistan Marine & Shipping Services Company (PMSSC) from the Public Sector ports & harbours shall be determined from time to time by Ministry of Maritime Affairs through a notification in official gazette.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (M/o NFS&R) presented a summary regarding procurement of 200,000 cotton bales by TCP to promote cotton production and bring stability in the domestic market.

The ECC also approved formation of Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) with a mandate to review market price and propose intervention at fortnightly basis.

The ECC also approved a summary by the M/o Industries and Production for importing 200,000 metric tons of sugar to build strategic reserves and minimize the role of speculative elements in the domestic market. In case of need more reserves will be built through import, the ECC decided.

ECC approved the amendment in its earlier decision dated 19-02-2021 regarding the “Prime Minister’s” fiscal package for Agriculture in the wake of COVID-19 Kharif”. The package offered subsidy on DAP@1500Rs/acre for cotton and rice crops, during the Kharif Season 2021. Now according to the amendment, the farmers can avail subsidy on any phosphatic fertilizer according to their choice.