ECC okays 120,000 tons of wheat import

Shipment will help build strategic reserves to stabilise prices of staple commodity

Our Correspondent September 10, 2021
The FBR chairman presented a summary to strengthen IREN to combat tax evasion and leakages of duties payable on specified goods. Photo: PID


The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Thursday approved a tender for procurement of 120,000 tons of wheat for building strategic reserves.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC approved the tender in compliance with the directive of the cabinet to procure 4 million tons of wheat to build reserves during the ongoing fiscal year.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin chaired the ECC meeting at the Finance Division.

Meeting participants urged the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) chairman to expedite efforts for wheat import to stabilise prices and ensure a smooth supply of the commodity across the country.

The committee also directed the TCP chief to present a detailed report to the Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood regarding the timeline of wheat import and other details at the earliest.

Officials of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented a summary related to the revision in tariff for Fauji Oil Terminal and Distribution Company (Fotco) to enable it to meet operating and maintenance costs, which were approved in the year 2000 for a period of 20 years, but not revised.

After due deliberation, the committee approved the revision in tariff for Fotco, which would be paid in equivalent Pakistani rupees and locked for five years.

The ECC constituted a sub-committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Petroleum, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, PSO, AF Ferguson, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Finance Division to decide on the tariff differential accumulated between 2012 and 2020.

The committee will be headed by the Planning Commission deputy chairman.

Representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs tabled another summary regarding relaxation in rules for 19 subsidiary companies of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) under the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules.

The ECC approved the relaxation in rules till June 2021 with the directive to explore the option of constituting independent boards of the subsidiaries to be headed by the CEO in line with the principles of corporate governance.

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The ECC considered and approved a summary presented by the Ministry of National Health Services pertaining to an exemption from taxes and duties on the import of auto-disable syringes and raw material/ products for local manufacturing of auto-disable syringes.

The approval is expected to facilitate the transformation from conventional to auto-disable syringes.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed presented a summary aimed at strengthening the Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) in a bid to combat tax evasion and leakages of duties payable on specified goods through the enforcement of a track and trace system.

IREN will also check the goods supplied out of the erstwhile Fata/ Pata regions for ascertaining their validity and conformity. The ECC considered and approved the summary.

Tarin stated that the FBR would create goodwill and avoid harassment in the enforcement of rules and regulations for the collection of taxes and duties.

“At the same time, the FBR will take firm action to prevent tax evasion and broaden the tax base to contribute to the national exchequer,” he said. “A proper system of check and balance will be followed.”

The minister urged the FBR to apply the latest technology-based solutions for tax collection to reduce the reliance on traditional enforcement methodology.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro, and Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi attended the meeting.

Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Special Assistant for Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar, State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir were also present.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2021.

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