ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar chaired meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) here Wednesday.
The ECC considered the proposals of Ministry of National Food Security & Research regarding the support /procurement price of wheat for the crop 2018-19 and decided to maintain the wheat support price at the current level of Rs.1300/- per 40 KG.
It was noted that the wheat prices in the international market were considerably lower and the government of Pakistan was incurring a huge expenditure in the wheat procurement process, to protect the interests of the farmers.
The ECC approved the proposal of the Privatization Division for disbursement of Rs. 367 million as one month’s salary (September 2018) to the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).
The ECC also directed the Ministry of Industries to take immediate action for disbursement of outstanding dues to widows of PSM’s deceased employees which have been pending for the last almost four years.
ECC also directed that since PSM had been excluded from the privatization list, the Ministry of Industries and Production should on priority, submit a detailed proposal to the ECC for PSM’s operationalization.
On another proposal from the Ministry of National Food Security, the ECC allowed import of 50,000 tons of urea fertilizer to meet requirements of farmers in Rabi season 2018-19.
The Committee also authorized the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Industries to allow import of an additional quantity of 50,000 tons, if required.
Further, the ECC also directed that fertilizer plants may be kept fully operational for whole of Rabi season for adequate production of urea and prevent its shortage.
The ECC maintained that no undue increase in prices of urea will be tolerated on the pretext of increase in gas prices.
ECC also approved proposal of the Ministry of Food Security, for enhancing Pakistan’s share of wheat for the SAARC Food Bank Reserve from 40,000 tons to 80,000 tons, adjusting it in the existing quantum of one million metric tons of national strategic reserves assigned to PASSCO.
The Chairman FBR briefed the meeting on tax collection from the sugar industry. He suggested that a revised mechanism be put in place to ensure that the full amount of due taxes are recovered from the industry.
The ECC directed FBR to place the matter before the Cabinet after consulting the stakeholders within one week.
The ECC directed the Power Division to actively engage with companies / entities concerned to facilitate clearance of PSO’s outstanding receivables (over Rs. 300 billion) as early as possible to guard against any risk of disruption in supply chain of petroleum products and energy supply.