Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday presided over a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, a private media house reported.
During the meeting, a report on the wheat situation in the country was presented by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. It was briefed that adequate stocks of wheat are available in the country to cater to the needs of the population.
It was also highlighted that the procured quantity of wheat during this year is 33 per cent less than the procured quantities of wheat during the corresponding periods of last year. The recent hike in prices of wheat and wheat flour also remained a point of concern.
The ECC decided to impose a ban on export of wheat/wheat flour and also asked that a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee may be convened to suggest measures to control the price hike of ‘Roti’ and other wheat products in the local market.
The committee also approved National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) to fix the Dealer Transfer Price (DTP) of 50kg imported urea bag at Rs1,800, which is Rs166 less than the prevailing average market price of Sona urea i.e. Rs1,966 per 50kg bag. The difference in urea import price and approved dealer transfer price for NFML dealers has been estimated at Rs937.92 million; NFML has also been directed to ensure enforcement of this price through coordination with provincial governments.
The ECC further allowed PIA Corporation Limited to make a re-appropriation in its already approved budget of Rs24 billion for the upgradation of in-flight entertainment (IFE) system of its fleet for 8 Boeing-777 aircraft. The project will cost Rs700 million.
It was also briefed during the meeting that the 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. The new base 2015-16 of price statistics features the inclusion of rural market, introduction of population weight based on Population Censes 2017, computation of indices based on Weighted Geometric Mean, introduction of consumption quintiles instead of income quintiles, introduction of consumer weighted approach to compute gas prices for combined income group and introduction of GST, other taxes to compute electricity tariffs by using consumer weighted approach.
It was 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 the Ministry of Commerce and Textile, it was decided that the scrap slag, ash and residues containing metals, arsenic or their compounds may be moved from Appendix-A (Banned Items) to Appendix-B (Restricted Items) of the Import Policy Order, 2016.
The ECC also considered and approved the notification of Minimum Indicative Prices (MIP) of tobacco for year 2019-20. As per section 8 of the Pakistan Tobacco Board Ordinance 1968, the MIP for different grades of various types of tobacco is to be notified by the federal government.
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 so that levy of additional customs duty collected on those parts of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) of engine capacities 1,001cc to 1,500cc and 1,501cc to 1,800cc which have been localized, may be appropriately accounted for under separate PCT codes.
The report on National Poverty Graduation Programme of $82.60 million was also submitted for compliance of the ECC by the Economic Affairs Division secretary.
Among others, the meeting was attended by National Food Security & Research Minister Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan, Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Privatization Minister Muhammadmian Soomro, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir and Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gilani.