ECC okays removal of customs duty

Waives additional 2% duty on 152 tariff lines, endorses more wheat import


Our Correspondent January 07, 2021
Earlier, the ECC had deferred its approval following opposition from the FBR to the removal of additional customs duty from 152 tariff lines. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD:

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has approved the removal of additional 2% customs duty on 152 tariff lines, mostly raw material, under the National Tariff Policy 2019-24.

Federal Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired a meeting of the ECC on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Commerce presented a summary regarding removal of additional 2% customs duty on 152 tariff lines, mostly raw material, on a horizontal basis under the National Tariff Policy 2019-24. These items are currently subject to 3% customs duty.

The ECC approved the summary with the directive that the budget cycle must be observed while considering important incentives for businesses and industries for a smooth planning and subsequent implementation during the financial year.

The commerce ministry calculated the financial impact of removal of additional customs duty at Rs550 million.

Earlier, the ECC had deferred its approval following opposition from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to the removal of additional customs duty from 152 tariff lines.

The FBR argued that the economic decision-making body had proposed to approve it in the last quarter of fiscal year. However, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood persuaded the finance ministry and the FBR to agree on the matter. Therefore, the ECC gave the go-ahead to the proposal.

The ECC also approved the import of additional wheat to increase buffer stocks till the arrival of fresh crop after seeking detailed input from all concerned.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research presented a detailed summary on the provision of additional quantity of wheat to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

Additional secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security gave a presentation on the availability of wheat stock across the country.

The ECC approved additional allocation of 200,000 tons of wheat for K-P, 80,000 tons for AJK and 220,000 tons for USC from the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco), as requested.

According to a statement, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs tabled a summary for the award of contracts for infrastructure facilities, sewerage system and water supply system in the Gulshan-e-Benazir Township Scheme at the Port Qasim Authority, Karachi.

The ECC endorsed, in principle, the projects in conformation with the PQA Act 1973 and directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to settle modalities for the award of contracts as per rules.

Decision on summaries related to the Textile and Apparel Policy (2020-25) and National Freight and Logistics Policy were deferred to the next ECC meeting for comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders.

The ECC approved technical supplementary grants during the meeting. It approved Rs30 million for the Ministry of Defence for the purchase of spare parts for helicopters for the K-P government.

The economic decision-making body also approved a supplementary grant of Rs400 million for the Ministry of Law and Justice in order to establish additional courts in compliance with orders of the Supreme Court.

It approved Rs2.268 billion for the Higher Education Commission for completion of various disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs) under the International Development Association (IDA) credit facility.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2021.

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