Govt gives nod to Rs254b supplementary budget

Permits export of 150,000 tonnes of sugar on assumption of surplus stock

Our Correspondent June 14, 2024


The federal government on Thursday approved another Rs254 billion in supplementary budget and allowed export of 150,000 metric tonnes of sugar on the assumption that the country had surplus stocks and shipments would not lead to a price hike.

The decisions were made by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, which also approved a Rs5 billion budget for the Ministry of Defence aimed at maintaining 118 tourism sites across Pakistan.

The ECC approved Rs370 million for clearing pending bills of the Supreme Court and the maintenance of judges’ residences.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb chaired the ECC meeting, who had to approve one and a half dozen supplementary grants despite his intention to refocus the ECC’s discussions on economic policymaking.

The proposal of the Ministry of Industries and Production for export of 150,000 metric tonnes of surplus sugar was approved by the ECC, according to a statement of the Ministry of Finance.

The decision for sugar export came on the assumption that the country’s monthly consumption was 568,000 tonnes, which would result in a surplus of 805,000 tonnes.

The ECC was told that at present sugar stocks stood at 4.2 million tonnes and out of that about 3.4 million tonnes would be consumed before November 30, 2024.

The ECC decided that sugar export was contingent upon maintaining its prices at Rs140 per kilogramme in the local retail market. The permission would be revoked, if the price rose to Rs141 per kg.

The committee gave the directive that export proceeds should be utilised by mills for making the overdue payments to farmers. The ECC approved 61% of export quota for Punjab sugar mills, 32% for Sindh and 7% for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

It gave the green light for a Rs169 billion supplementary budget for making interest payments on external debt. The government had understated the debt cost in June last year. The ECC approved a Rs5 billion supplementary grant for the military-run Green Tourism Private Limited. The company has been set up on instructions of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

A total of Rs28 billion was planned to be spent on 118 tourism sites, the ECC was informed.

The committee gave its nod for giving Rs24 billion to the Defence Division to make up for the pay shortfall in the current fiscal year. The military had to seek Rs24 billion in additional budget to cover the shortfall that arose due to the less-than-required budget for salary payments.

The ECC approved Rs29 million for the President Secretariat to meet expenditures for the payment of salaries to employees.

An amount of Rs5.4 billion was approved for the Federal Directorate of Immunisation (FDI) for immunisation activity.

The ECC approved Rs5 billion for the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan on account of salary and allowances, family assistance packages and social initiatives in the education and health sectors in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Similarly, Rs6.6 billion was approved for the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for clearing the pending liabilities of Passco.

The ECC approved Rs14.3 billion for the Finance Division as a rupee cover to facilitate the implementation of the Women Inclusive Finance project.

An amount of Rs10 billion was given to the Ministry of Interior for clearing the pending ration liabilities for the headquarters of Frontier Corps and the headquarters of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts. An amount of Rs600 million was given to the Ministry of Interior for raising three additional corps headquarters.

The ECC approved a budget of Rs4.6 billion for the Ministry of Interior in respect of the civil armed forces for meeting the operational requirements and pending liabilities of ration.

Furthermore, the proposal of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training to exempt HEC from the relending policy of foreign loans to the autonomous bodies was approved.

The ECC also approved a proposal of the Petroleum Division for release of Rs9 billion for clearing the outstanding claims of oil marketing companies including PSO on account of price differential claims.


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