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ISLAMABAD: The government has allowed one-time special permission for the release of stranded consignments of banned items at ports and airports reached on or before June 30, 2022, and decided to continue subsidy on Prime Minister’s Relief Package 2020 Sasta Ata initiative for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The ECC decided to continue subsidy on five essential commodities with direction to the Ministry of I&P to work out a feasible proposal on the subsidy programme, keeping in mind the financial implications.

The decision to this effect was taken by a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet presided over by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on a proposal of the Ministry of Commerce.

The ECC granted one-time special permission on the request of the Ministry of Commerce for the release of consignments stuck at the ports due to contravention framed under SRO 598(I)/2022 dated 19th May2022, only for those consignments which have landed at ports or airports in Pakistan on or before 30th June 2022 with the objective to resolve the hardship cases.

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

The Ministry of Commerce, submitted a summary to seek permission for one-time release of those consignments of items banned on 19th May 2022, which have reached Pakistan or would reach or their payments, and the ECC in order to resolve the hardship cases, granted one-time special permission for the release of consignments.

On a summary of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research seeking urgent advice relating to the award of second international wheat tender 2022 opened on 1st July 2022 for 500,000 metric tons. The ECC approved the lowest bid offer of M/s Cargill Agro Foods Pakistan @ US$ 439.40 metric tons to the extent of 500,000 metric tons.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary on WPF operation for the purchase/reservation of 120,000 metric tons of wheat for Afghanistan in the year 2022-23.

In view of the situation in Afghanistan and on humanitarian grounds, the ECC approved the request of the WFP for the purchase/reservation of 120,000 metric tons of wheat from the imported wheat stock of the PASSCO, on the latest import price.

The amount of supplied wheat along with cost and incidentals would be charged in US dollars. The ECC was further informed that the wheat will be locally grinded into wheat flour and will be supplied to Afghanistan by WFP, subject to relaxation of ban on the export of flour to the extent of the instant proposal of 120,000 MT of wheat. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented another summary on the declaration of “National Disease Emergency” on account of emergence of “Lumpy Skin disease” in Pakistan.

The ECC, after a detailed discussion, directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to prepare a cost-sharing plan after convening a meeting with concerned provincial secretaries and the NDMA.

On another summary moved by the Ministry of Commerce for suspension of import conditions contained in Import Policy Order, 2022, with regard to import of timber/wood, the ECC decided that the date of implementation of IPO 2022 regarding import of timber and wood falling under HS Codes 4401 to 4409 may be suspended till 31st August 2022 i.e. for the bills of Lading issued till 31st August 2022.

The ECC also approved another summary of the Ministry of Commerce to amend paragraph 3(1) of the Import Policy Order 2022 to allow the import of goods of Afghan origin against the Pak rupee and without the requirement of EIF forms for a period of one year, subject to the condition that Afghan exporters will provide a Certificate of Origin issued by Afghan Customs proving that the goods have originated from Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on the continuation of the Prime Minister’s Relief Package, 2020, Sasta Atta initiative for the KPK and the expansion of the Utility Stores network across Pakistan.

The ECC decided to continue subsidy on five essential commodities with direction to the Ministry of Industries and Production to work out feasible proposal on the subsidy programme keeping in mind the financial implications.

The ECC also approved a summary submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication on the constitution of Auction Advisory Committee to oversee spectrum auction(s) for Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Pakistan. The committee will be headed by the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue.

The ECC also approved a supplementary grant in favour of the Economic Affairs Division amounting to Rs193.006 billion for foreign loan repayments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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