ECC permits private wheat import

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – June 11, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The economic coordination committee (ECC) of the cabinet, Wednesday, approved the supply of 10,000 metric ton (MT) of wheat to the world food programme (WFP), for emergency relief operations and allowed import of wheat, by the private sector for unlimited period, after waiving different taxes and duties, the ECC directed to remove restrictions on the movement of wheat/flour countrywide and banned exports till next recommendations.

According to an official statement, the adviser to the prime minister on finance and revenue (A-PM-FR) Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC, of the cabinet, in the federal capital.

The ECC approved technical supplementary grants including Rs. 3,485 million for foreign affairs ministry for meeting costs of running the foreign missions;

Rs. 5,471,707 for law and justice ministry to pay the annual membership fee of different organisations;

Rs. 250 million to national accountability bureau (NAB) to meet its liabilities towards government of Punjab;

Rs. 168,151,919 to interior ministry for smooth working of the peacekeeping missions;

Rs. 18.33 million for the privatisation commission to meet its expenditure under various heads;

Rs. 7,248.050 for national health services, regulations and coordination ministry for expanded programme on immunisation;

Rs. 79 million was given to Pakistan institute of medical sciences (PIMS) to meets its various expenditures;

The ECC approved five billion rupees for Pakistan poverty alleviation fund (PPAF);

Rs 8.4 billion to Benazir income support programme (BISP) — the amount was transferred by Punjab government for onward transfer to BISP beneficiaries in Punjab through the Ehsaas programme;

Rs. 500 million for the Islamabad capital territory (ICT) administration for completing two projects;

Rs 450 million to ICT administration for sustainable development goals (SDG) achievement programme;

Rs 3,369.62 million for establishment division to pay arrears of group insurance of non-gazetted employees in order to pay the risk allowance, equal to one pay to all health care workers performing duties related to COVID-19 in the federal government, decided by the prime minister (PM) as chairman of the national coordination committee (NCC) on COVID-19, in the meeting held on March 26, 2020, ECC approved an amount of Rs.480.556 million (financial impact from April 1, 2020, to July 30, 2020) to meet the requirement.

The amount shall be provided out of Rs 50 billion of the PM’s fiscal stimulus package through technical supplementary grant.

The amount shall be paid to 3,432 employees of 10 health institutions of the federal government.

The situation will be reviewed after four months for the continuity of the allowance.

ECC after reviewing the situation of urea availability in the country and for making available for the upcoming sowing season, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of the industries minister with representatives from national food security, petroleum and finance division to review and recommend the appropriate variable contribution margin.

On the earlier instructions of the ECC for the presentation of a report on wheat procurement by provinces and Pakistan agricultural storage and services corporation (PASSCO), ECC was briefed that so far PASSCO and provincial food departments have procured a quantity of 6.5 million tons or 80 percent out of the assigned target of 8.25 million tons.

PASSCO and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government shall continue procurement till end June 2020.

On the recommendation of the national food security and research ministry, ECC directed that provincial food departments of KP and Balochistan to achieve their procurement targets as early as possible and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) of the provinces to be sensitive against hoarding and keeping a vigilant check on price hike of flour and wheat.

In order to provide relief to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the ongoing pandemic situation, ECC approved the change in key terms of the Kamyab Jawan programme.

Now instead of two tiers (100,000 to 0.5 million and 0.5 million to five million) there will be three tiers of loans; Rs. 100,000 to one million, Rs one million to 10 million, Rs 10 million to 25 million.

Tier one loans shall be on the personal guarantee of the borrower whereas tier two and tier three loans shall be as per bank’s own credit policy.

Government shall bear credit losses for principal portion only on the disbursed portfolios of the banks for tier one up to 50 percent.

Tier two up to 20 percent, tier three up to 10 percent and the executing agencies shall be all commercial banks.

Loan pricing was also changed for all three tiers (3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent respectively, bank pricing shall be KIBOR+400 BPS for all three tiers).

ECC also approved $10.9 million for capital increase in Bangladesh operations of national bank of Pakistan (NBP) and for meeting the minimum capital requirements prescribed by the central bank of Bangladesh (CBB) for the year 2019 and to create some cushion in equity for 2020.

The proposal was submitted by finance division. Electric vehicle policy for two to three wheelers and heavy commercial vehicles got approval of the ECC.

The policy was proposed by industries ministry after consultation with various stakeholders from engineering development board (EDB), science and technology ministry, climate change ministry and others.