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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved import of three million metric tonnes of wheat and decided to continue with the former Prime Minister’s Relief Package announced in 2020 for another two months – May and June 2022 – to provide subsidy on five essential commodities.

The ECC meeting presided over by Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on a summary moved by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research after discussing the current world scenario, as well as, its effects on the world economy and demand-supply situation of wheat in the country, approved three MMT of wheat import on need basis, depending upon the demand of the PASSCO and provincial governments to build up strategic reserves and to stabilize wheat prices in the country.

The meeting directed the concerned authorities to frame modalities for financing and procurement.

5 edible items: Subsidy likely to continue for 2 more months

The meeting also decided to continue former prime minister’s relief package 2020 for another two months to provide 20-kg bag of wheat flour at subsidized rate of Rs800, sugar per kg at Rs70, ghee per kg at Rs240, and rice and pulses Rs13-20 per kg less than market price.

Summary was moved by the Ministry of Industries and Production for continuation of former Prime Minister’s Relief Package 2020 for the months of May and June 2022 with the decision that because there is already stock available at the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for selling the commodities at cheaper rate of Ramzan relief package; therefore, the ECC directed the USC to continue to sell commodities at Ramzan relief package prices.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on revision of the prices of wheat flour and sugar under the Ramzan Relief Package-2022.

In order to provide continuous relief to the lower strata of the society from global inflationary pressure, the ECC granted approval to revision of prices of atta and sugar from Rs950/20kg to Rs800/20kg, Rs85/kg to Rs70/kg, respectively and also ordered that discount of Rs190/kg on vegetable ghee will be continued. The government will continue to absorb the cost of subsidy for the benefit of the common man.

Import of 3MMTs of wheat: PPRA Board for exempting MNFS&R from rules

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research tabled a summary for procurement of additional quantity of wheat for PASSCO and Punjab Food Department with cash credit limits to build up strategic reserves and to stabilize local wheat market. PASSCO and Punjab have met their wheat procurement targets of 1.20 MMT and 3.5 MMT, respectively, on 30-04-2022.

The chair allowed PASSCO to procure an additional quantity of 0.50 MMT with the CCL of Rs28.50 billion and permitted Punjab Food Department to procure an additional quantity of 1.00 MMT with the CCL of Rs145.50 billion in the wake of low production of wheat in the country due to previous government’s failure to provide fertilizers to the growers on time.

Further, the chair said that the Sindh government will be allowed to procure additional quantity of wheat, once it meets the current procurement target.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik, federal secretaries and senior officers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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