ECC approves 200,000MT additional wheat for utility stores

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday approved the allocation of additional 200,000 metric tonnes of wheat for Utility Stores Corporation from Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) reserves.

The ECC meeting was held under the chair of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

According to a statement issued by the Finance Division, the approved quantity will be released in tranches, first of which (50,000MT) will be released immediately. “The rest will be released as per the demand made by USC.”

The total cost of this package is Rs8.690 billion, including incidental charges of Rs1.690 billion.

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The chair directed that the record of the USC and PASSCO may be completely computerized so that it may ensure transparency.

There was also a discussion on data collection from private flour mills in order to ascertain the correct situation of demand and supply of wheat in the country and to ensure accuracy in decision making.

Meanwhile, the chair asked the Poverty Alleviation Division to ensure transparency and efficiency in disbursement of funds to the vulnerable in wake of COVID-19 situation in the country.

The poverty alleviation secretary assured the ECC that no one would be allowed to swindle the poor people of the country, adding that the multiple arrests have already been made and exemplary punishment would be given to those who found guilty.

The division also briefed the ECC that 1.7 million families have so far been paid under the Ehsaas programme while payments to remaining families are underway.

It is pertinent to mention that the ECC had last week approved Rs50 billion as technical supplementary grant for the USCs.

The committee had directed the utility stores to ensure the provision of essential items at reduced prices in the wake of lockdowns caused by to COVID-19 as well as keeping in view the upcoming month of Ramazan.

As many as Rs21 billion have already been disbursed to the USC after December 2019 for the procurement of essential items, he meeting as informed. The USC managing director had assured of complete corporation in ensuring the provision of affordable goods to people in this hour of need.

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