ISLAMABAD: Under the chairmanship of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Monday decided to withdraw 3pc regulatory duty, 2pc additional customs duty and 5pc sales tax on imported cotton from January 15, 2020.
The decision was taken in the light of the information provided to the ECC after the first Cotton Crop Assessment Committee’s meeting held on October 4, 2019, in which it was briefed that against the production target of 15 million bales of cotton for FY2019-20, the cotton production at the year-end would be 10.20 million bales.
The chair was briefed that the bulk of the cotton would be lifted from local farmers by January 1, 2020 and the given exemption would not adversely affect the interests the local farmers.
On the other hand, it was also assured by the ministries of commerce and national food security & research that the import shall facilitate the textile sector exports which were showing a rising trend.
The chair, in the interest of the local farmers, directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to devise a comprehensive policy, in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, which could help improve local cotton production and serve the interests of the local farmers. Shaikh directed that the policy shall be presented within one month’s time to the ECC.
Meanwhile, the ECC approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs6.21 billion for the current financial year to recur the cost of Special Security Division (North) of Pakistan Army.
Two other technical supplementary grants were also approved by the ECC for “internal security duty allowance” to Pakistan Army (Rs4.966 billion) and for the “construction of community bunkers” (Rs500 million).
The ECC also allowed the import of cotton from the Torkham border through land routes from Afghanistan and Central Asian states; similar to last year, fumigation arrangements were allowed to be made at designated areas for 2019-20.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the Ministry of Commerce were directed to engage the importers for the establishment of facilities at Torkham. Necessary steps would be initiated in Plant Quarantine Rules to provide the facility of meeting SPS requirements for the import of cotton through land rules.
Moreover, the ECC allowed the consortium with Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) as the operator and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) and Government Holding (Private) Limited (GHPL) as partners to submit the bid directly or through their subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi 2019 bidding round for one block and make initial investment through their own resources in proportion to their shares. Any additional financial requirement shall be met by the Pakistani government in case the need arises.
The approval for bidding was given in view of enhancing the technical skills of the consortium and to bring an additional foreign exchange to the country.