ECC approves import of 1mn metric tons of wheat to meet shortfall 

Wheat to be imported through G2G agreements and open tenders

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved import of 1 million metric tons (MMT) of milling wheat for the year 2023-24 to maintain the strategic reserves. 

The Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar presided over a meeting of the ECC of the Cabinet. 

Sources said that the Ministry of Food Security and Research has informed the ECC that the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) has fallen short of achieving its targeted wheat purchase. 

Specifically, only 75 % of the target was achieved, prompting the government to consider alternative measures to ensure an adequate supply of wheat.

Sources said that the Finance ministry has put forward a recommendation to import wheat through government-to-government (G2G) agreements and open tenders. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Food Security suggested that the private sector should be encouraged to partake in wheat import, with some government support for this initiative.

Sources said that the imported wheat, which will be sourced from the international market, is expected to arrive in Karachi at an estimated cost of Rs. 86,811 per ton (Rs. 86.8 billion ~1 metric ton).

The decision to import wheat from the global market is based on securing the commodity at the most favorable prices available.

According to the finance division, the ECC gave its approval to the summary submitted by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding the cost efficient import of 1.00 MMT of milling wheat for the year 2023-24, through Trading Corporation Pakistan (TCP) through open tendering, to maintain the strategic reserves. 

The ECC also directed the Ministry to conduct a third party verification of the wheat stock in the country.

In the session of the ECC, the Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary regarding the measures to meet the requirements of urea for Rabi season 2023-24. 

The ECC discussed the proposal in detail and approved immediate import of 200,000 MT of urea fertilizers. 

The meeting also directed that uninterrupted supply of gas for the fertilizer industry is to be ensured. It was also decided that the provinces will be asked to act more proactively to bear the import cost.

The meeting also deliberated over a summary submitted by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) for approval of the Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) of Rs. 484 Million to meet critical expenditure on pay and allowances of 415 contractual and project employees from July 2023 onwards. The ECC directed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to identify the savings to finance the salaries of the ERRA employees.

A summary of the Ministry of Finance regarding the establishment of the National Credit Guarantee Company Limited to support the credit enhancement of the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was also considered and approved by the forum.

Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read