ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday approved the government purchase of 6.5 million tons of wheat during the current season. ECC met under the chairmanship of Adviser to PM on Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Shaukat Tarin here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat reviewed implementation status of its earlier decisions and expressed satisfaction over the decisions implemented, advising Ministries/Divisions to expedite implementation formalities on items reported as implementation in progress.
While reviewing MINFAL summary on Wheat Procurement Policy-2009 ECC noted that present government’s earlier announcement of Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) has resulted in increase of wheat cultivation area, simultaneously encouraging farmers to judiciously use the input in wheat cultivation.
ECC endorsed in principle Cabinet’s earlier approval for increasing wheat procurement targets from 5 million tones to 6.5 million tones and directed MINFAL and Ministry of Finance to jointly work out the domestic distribution and export strategy where needed.
ECC advised MINFAL to interact with Provinces and PASCO to cross check and finalize their wheat procurement ceiling, storage and distribution strategy by 1st March 2009. ECC further directed MINFAL to rework on its Wheat Procurement Policy-2009 in consultation with provinces and other stakeholders, and resubmit a comprehensive proposal in next ECC meeting.
ECC approved Ministry of Industries and Production’s summary for allocation of additional 35 MMCFD natural gas from Mari Gas Field to Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited effective October, 2009 with certain modifications.
ECC approved Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources proposal for gas supply to 50 MW power projects by diverting 12 MMCFD gas from SSGC system to PPIB, Ministry of Water and Power for 05 years for power generation in accordance with Natural Gas Allocation & Management Policy – 2005.
ECC was informed about rising milk prices trend, without benefit to small farmers. Ministry of Livestock and Dairy Development briefed ECC about its Milk Collection Processing and Dairy Production and Development Programme which is in progress and is designed to support farmers in reaping dairy products development-based benefits.
ECC constituted a Committee comprising reps of MINFAL, Ministry of Livestock and Dairy Development and Planning Commission to formulate a strategy for provision of benefits of stable milk prices to small farmers.
ECC directed Ministries of Petroleum and Finance to jointly work out a plan to hedge petroleum products taking an advantage of declining international market oil prices, and submit a comprehensive technical and financial proposal to ECC for consideration.
ECC considered Ministry of Industries and Production summary on provision of seed money for Pakistan Stone Development Company’s (PASDEC) Marble Cities Project, and reconfirmed it earlier approval to arrange loan of Rs.400 million from the banking system, enabling PASDEC to develop infrastructure for proposed marble cities which has tremendous potential for growth and development and could boost national economy.
ECC reviewed Key Economic Indicators (KEI) and overall price situation in the country and noted that overall Consumer Price Index-based inflation has registered a deceleration by 2.8% during January 2009 vs December 2008. ECC further noted that forex reserves during January 2009 stood at $ 10.3 billion that included impact of IMF’ first tranche of disbursement and other positive inflows.
ECC noted that overall workers’ remittances during July-December 2008 amounted to $ 3640.0 million showing an increase of 18.7%. ECC was informed that FBR has collected Rs.628.7 billion during first six months of CFY (July-December 2008), posting an increase of 22.7% compared with same period of last year.
Foreign Direct Investment during (July-December, 2008) amounted to $ 2327..3 million registering a healthy growth of 12.6% compared with the last year’s period under review. ECC was informed that out of 2.5 million tones of wheat earmarked for import, 1.76 million tones has arrived to supplement existing stock which stood at 1.666 million tones as on 1st February 2009.
It noted that existing sugar stock was reported to be around 1.173 million tones to supplement open market needs. ECC was informed that USC management has taken special measures to ensure quality and quantity of food items on USC’s nationwide outlets.
It however directed Ministry of Industries and Production to ensure that essential food items at USC outlets are provided to buyers in a manner that market prices of said items are equalized. ECC noted that 52 percent of planned quantity of urea has arrived, whereas 48 percent is due by the end of current month.-SANA