Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Cabinet Division.
ECC constituted a committee to thoroughly evaluate the proposal for an increase in the Minimum Support Price of Wheat. In a meeting in Islamabad on Monday, with Advisor on Finance in the Chair, it was decided that the committee shall also prepare a proposal on subsidy on fertilizers, mainly on DAP, which may be offered as a part of the package for the farmers to reduce their input cost.
It was also decided that the provinces should increase the release of wheat to reduce the price of flour in the market.
ECC approved, in principle, the procedure for registration under the concessionary regime of electricity, re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG), and gas under the export-oriented sectors (erstwhile zero-rated sectors) with instructions to ensure better targeting of the recipients of this subsidy.
ECC decided that the previous list of manufacturers or exporters declared zero-rated by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), under condition (xii) of the SRO 1125, may be adopted in export-oriented sectors. FBR may register new manufacturers or exporters of five export-oriented sectors (erstwhile five zero-rated sectors), in accordance with past precedents of STGO-117, under Commerce Division’s O.M No.1 (18)/2019 in a manner specified by FBR.
FBR, Petroleum Division and Power Division may formulate periodic rechecking/monitoring/withdrawal strategy for previous and newly registered units along with the procedure to penalize in case of misrepresentation and misuse.
ECC also had a detailed discussion on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Wheat in today’s session. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the ECC on different estimates gathered from Punjab, KP, Balochistan and the Federal Capital. During the discussion, it also came to the fore that there was a need to increase the MSP to support the farmer and to grow enough quantities in the next sowing season.
The forum also discussed the need to rationalize the prices of inputs for making them more affordable to the farmers, to support the rural economy through various measures and to increase the supply of wheat in the market so that the flour prices are brought down. It was also discussed to have a better system for gathering data regarding the agriculture sector.
ECC decided to form a committee with Syed Fakhar Imam, Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, Dr. Ishrat Hussain. Dr. Waqar Masood, Nadeem Baber, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Asad Umar and Khusroo Bakhtiar as members, to thoroughly evaluate the proposal for the increase in the Minimum Support Price of wheat for the 20-21 crops.
The committee shall also prepare a proposal on subsidy on fertilizers mainly DAP which may be offered as a part of the package for the farmers so that their input cost is reasonable/ reduced. It was also decided that the provinces should increase the wheat releases to stabilize/reduce the price of flour in the market.
It was decided that the local governments will also be directed to specially monitor the prices of wheat and flour in the markets so that its prices may not be allowed to escalate for the common man. The committee shall present its proposal in the next meeting of ECC.