ECC allows regulatory cover to barter trade with Afghanistan, Iran

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By Shabbir Hussain

ISLAMABAD, FEB 24 (Diplomatic Star): The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet here on Thursday allowed regulatory cover to barter trade arrangements with Afghanistan and Iran by amending relevant provisions of Export Policy Order (EPO) 2020 and Import Policy Order (IPO) 2020.

The summary for granting regulatory support for establishing barter trade arrangements with the two neghbouring countries was presented by Ministry of Commerce before ECC, the meeting of which was chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam; Federal Minister for Economic Affairs; Omar Ayub Khan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib; federal secretaries and other senior officers.

The cabinet committee allowed Ministry of Industries and Production to build strategic reserves of sugar to avoid price variation/hike in prices in future.

Accordingly, the federal government would purchase 0.30 million metric ton sugar and provincial governments of Punjab and  Sindh would purchase 0.20 million metric tons of sugar for strategic reserves from sugar mills in current crop year when the prices are lower in the local market.

On another summary presented by Ministry of Industries and Production regarding continuation of un-targeted subsidy on five essential commodities i.e Atta, Ghee, Sugar, Rice and Pulses, the ECC after discussion allowed continuation of subsidy on five essential items for the period from 24 to 28 of February, 2022 and for the month of March, 2022.

Further, the chair directed the Utility Stores Corporation to seek guidance of Ministry of Law and Justice on continuation of subsidy on these items for initial 23 days of the February.

On the request of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, ECC allowed the withdrawal of its earlier summary for 50,000 MT wheat to Afghanistan and granted permission for already provided 6627 M Tons of Wheat worth of Rs. 0.67 billion to Afghanistan.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented another summary on fixation of PASSCO’s wheat procurement targets along with cash credit limits. The ECC assigned PASSCO the target of 1.20 MMT of Wheat with the cash Credit Limit (CCL) for Rs. 65.00 Billion @ MSP of Rs. 1,950/40 Kg.

The ECC after discussion approved Supplementary/Technical Supplementary Grants which included Rs. 684.00 million ($ 3,708,323.00) in favour of Ministry of Economic Affairs as the first instalment/mobilization advance against the disbursement schedule provided by NADRA for the FY 2021-22.

It also approved Rs. 20 million for Ministry of Housing and Works for Execution of Development Schemes in Sindh Province under SAP”; Rs. 200 million in favour of Ministry of Housing and Works from PSDP and Rs. 450 million for Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination for the project “Strengthening Existing Capacity for National Institute of Health for Effective Response Against Covid-19 Pandemic in Pakistan.”