ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday authorised Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import 200,000 tonnes of refined sugar to meet an expected shortfall this year. ECC of the Cabinet met under the chairmanship of Adviser to PM on Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Shaukat Tarin here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and considered Ministry of Industry and Production’s summary reviewing sugar industry prices, availability of stock, probable domestic consumption and.
ECC directed TCP may import 200.000 tons of refined sugar in phases, breaking up the import process in manageable tendering size and ensure that overall market pricing of sugar at USC outlets is maintained at Rs.38 per kg. ECC authorised TCP to import of refined sugar in phases.
The government decision to import refined sugar comes after domestic sugar prices increased more than 23 percent to 42 rupees/kg from 34 rupees two months ago. In December, the government said that it would import raw sugar but deferred a decision on the amount until an assessment of how much was needed. The government and industry bodies had expected refined sugar output in the 2008/09 financial year would fall to between 3.5 and 3.6 million tonnes.
ECC also decided not to impose export duty on export of molasses, advising TCP to offload one lac tones sugar from its own stocks through USC outlets to supplement domestic market needs.
While reviewing FBR proposals for modification/revision of regulatory duties on paper, paper board, ceramics tiles, flat rolled products of iron/steel, glassware and potatoes, ECC decided to allow exemption of duty for twelve months window period to international franchise food chains for import of ware potatoes in order to encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
It also advised the concerned GOP organizations to take up the matter of indigenizing the production of processed ware potatoes with international food chains during the said period. ECC, however, decided that existing regulatory duty on all other imports of ware potatoes for sale in the market shall continue to remain liveable.
ECC deferred consideration on modification of regulatory duty on flat rolled steel products, advising FBR to review overall steel related proposals in consultation with stakeholders, complete its technical homework and resubmit the proposal. ECC allowed FBR to modify/revise regulatory duties on other items of input used in local industry of paper board and ceramic tiles.
ECC considered FBR summary for items included in the list of anomalies cases taken up by Tariff Anomaly Committee (TAC), besides other proposals for levy of regulatory duty and approved its proposals to modify/revise regulatory duties on items like viscosc twisted yarn, cryogenic tanks, ceramics ware, HRC stainless steel sheets and other industry specific products. ECC also allowed FBR corrections in its various SROs through technical rewording/rephrasing.
In the end, Governor State Bank briefed the ECC on Central Bank’s existing fiscal policies aimed to ensure positive liquidity flow in the banking system, balanced market interest rates and improved forex reserves.-SANA