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The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has imposed a ban on export of wheat and wheat flour following increase in price of bread ''Roti'' and sought suggestions to control increase in Roti and other wheat products'' prices in local market. A meeting of the ECC chaired by Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh not only expressed concern over recent increase in the price of wheat products, especially bread (Roti), and asked National Price Monitoring Committee to suggest measures how to check this trend with cooperation of the provincial governments.
The ECC was briefed by Ministry of National Food Security and Research on wheat situation in the country and was informed that the procured quantity of wheat during this year is 33% less than the quantity of wheat procured during the corresponding period of last year. The ECC also allowed National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) to fix the Dealer Transfer Price (DTP) of 50 kg imported urea bag at Rs 1,800, which is Rs 166 less than the prevailing average market price of Sona Urea i.e. Rs 1,966 per 50 kg bag.
The meeting allowed Pakistan International Airline (PIA) Corporation Limited to make a re-appropriation in its already approved budget of Rs 24 billion for the up-gradation of in flight entertainment (IFE) system of its fleet for 8 Boeing-777 aircraft. The project will cost Rs 700 million and measures will improve the occupancy of the airline to 80 per cent from the current level of 70 per cent.
The ECC endorsed the decision of the governing council of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to change the base of price statistics from 2007-08 to 2015-16 whose features would involve: (i) introduction of population weight based on recent Population Censes 2017; (ii) computation of indices based on Weighted Geometric Mean; (iii) introduction of consumption quintiles instead of income quintiles; (iv) introduction of consumer weighted approach to compute gas prices for combined income group; (v) and introduction of GST, other taxes, and Fuel Price Adjustment to compute electricity tariffs using consumer weighted approach.
The meeting also decided that for the purpose of comparative analysis, the old series of 2007-08 will continue to be published for another year along with the new series of 2015-16.
On the summary moved by Ministry of Commerce and Textile, the ECC decided that the scrap, slag, ash and residues containing metals, arsenic or their compounds aluminum may be moved from banned items to restricted items of the Import Policy Order, 2016.
However, in order to forestall the chances of import of hazardous waste, the import may be subject to; (i) importable only by industrial consumer having recycling facilities, subject to NOC from Ministry of Climate Change and duly certified by provincial and federal environmental protection agencies; (ii) provision of a pre-shipment inspection certificate and consent of Focal Point of Basel Convention from the country of export to the effect that the waste/scrap is non-hazardous as defined in the Basel Convention; (iii) and the imported consignments of the registered recycling plants shall be cleared from seaport only. The ECC also considered and approved the notification of minimum indicative prices (MIP) of tobacco for year 2019-20 for different grades of types of tobacco. The prices suggested for notification were: FCV tobacco (plain) Rs 190.63 per kg, FCV tobacco (sub-mountainous) Rs 218.77 per kg, WP tobacco, Rs 82.85 per kg, burley tobacco, Rs 150.54 per kg, and DAC tobacco, Rs 94.76 per kg. The ECC also allowed that new PCT codes, as created in the Pakistan Customs Tariff through the Finance Act, 2019, may also be incorporated in SRO 693(I)/2006 dated 01.07.2006 so that levy of additional customs duty collected on those parts of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) of engine capacities 1001cc to 1500cc and 1501cc to 1800cc which have been localised, may be appropriately accounted for under separate PCT codes. The report on National Poverty Graduation Programme of US $82.60 million was also submitted for compliance of the ECC by secretary Economic Affairs Division.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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