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Print Print 2022-08-31

ECC decides to boost strategic reserves of wheat

  • Meeting of the ECC was put up a summary by the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation seeking Rs103 billion for disbursement of emergency cash assistance among flood-affected families across Pakistan
Published August 31, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has decided to increase wheat strategic reserves to two million metric tons in order to deal with expected hoarding and prices’ increase in the wake of rainfalls and floods.

A meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Tuesday was put up a summary by the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation seeking Rs103 billion for disbursement of emergency cash assistance among 4.1 million flood-affected families across the country.

The Ministry of National Food, Security and Research also presented a summary for re-fixing of wheat strategic reserves to the level of two million metric tons. The ministry, sources said stated that previously fixed strategic reserves of one million metric ton is inadequate in the wake of recent rainfall and flood damages ensuing financial issues of farmers for the next wheat sowing season, rising local wheat prices and hoarding and smuggling issues, one million metric tons wheat stock are insufficient.

Therefore, in order to ensure wheat availability across the border and to stabilise local wheat prices, it was proposed that the quantum of wheat strategic reserves may be retained at the level of two MMTs.

The ECC approved the revision of the decision for the import of three MMTs of milling wheat against the net requirement of 2.6 million tons besides allowing maintenance of strategic reserves of wheat at the level of two MMTs, including a quantity of 0.080 MMTs on account of SAARC food bank.

ECC allows TCP to import 0.3m tonnes of wheat

In addition, the ECC also decided that the trading corporation should be directed to arrange a further quantity of 0.8 MMTs through G2G or open tender. It was added that import of 0.8 MMTs wheat is allowed to the private sector with the proviso that subsidy shall not be provided for such imports of wheat.

The ECC allowed the EAD for signing of six debt rescheduling agreements for DSSI-III amounting to around $190 million with three creditors namely, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The ECC was informed that this debt relief, termed as DSSI-I, for IDA eligible countries to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 was announced in April 2020 and currently, six agreements for the DSSI-III with Italy, Japan, and Spain have been negotiated and finalized; therefore, signing of six debt rescheduling agreements with the three creditor countries by the secretary EAD on behalf of the government of Pakistan may be allowed.

The ECC was presented a summary by the National FATF Coordination Committee on AML/CFT seeking Rs7 million for making arrangements and other expenses of 15 members’ FATF/APG assessors’ team comprising different countries on-site visit from 29 August to 2 September 2022 in order to verify the stance of Pakistan as reported in cyclic reports. The ECC approved TSG of Rs7 million in this regard.

The Ministry of Communication submitted a summary for extension of time to complete the business plan of the NHA from June 30, 2022 to September 30, 2022. It was shared that the NHA has already shared information with the ADB consultant for preparation of business plan of the NHA. However, additional time is required to complete the same. This summary was approved by the ECC after thorough deliberation with the provision that no further extension would be given. In case, a further extension is sought, the Finance Division will start deducting interest on Cash Development Loans (CDL).

The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety has sought Rs103 billion supplementary grant for disbursement of Rs25,000 among 4.1 million beneficiaries across the country for poverty score up to 32.

In the summary, the ministry stated that emergency cash assistance to victims of flash floods 2022 was decided following unprecedented rains and flash floods across the country which resulted in the loss of lives and property.

The meeting was attended by 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, Coordinator to PM on Commerce and Industry Rana Ihsan Afzal, Coordinator to the PM on Economy Bilal Azhar Kayani, federal secretaries, and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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