The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has allowed open export of sugar by doing away with the export quota for sugar mills. The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh on Tuesday was informed about the existence of surplus stock of sugar in the country and the need to allow sugar mills to export it before the next crop.
However, an official said that some members of the ECC were against the abolition of quota fearing that this may lead to an increase in price of commodity in the country. A viewpoint in the ECC was that the export was not happening and sugar mills have not been able to export the allocated quota and are keeping it with themselves. Thus the abolition of quota is unlikely to be meaningless. After listening to the views of both sides, the ECC decided that the Commerce Ministry would brief every meeting of the ECC from here onward about available stocks, so that the decision could be reversed in case of decline in strategic reserves.
The ECC also approved a summary moved by the Commerce Division for allowing Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to procure and maintain strategic reserve of 500,000 MT of sugar by purchasing 330,000 MT of domestic sugar in the season of 2012-13.
Sources said that the ECC deferred summaries regarding allocation of gas to Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and restoration of gas to fertiliser industry till the next meeting. The meeting decided to convene a meeting to discuss the issues related to load-shedding of gas and electricity and to devise a plan to minimise effects of energy shortage on different sectors of the economy.
The ECC also accorded approval in principle to a summary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for renewal of gas price agreement between Qadirpur Joint Venture and SNGPL which will be effective from July 1, 2013. The ECC also accorded approval in principle to a summary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for corporate purchase of Tullow Pakistan Development Limited and Tullow Bangladesh Limited by Pakistan Petroleum Limited with the observation that it will be subject to approval by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The ECC also approved a summary of Ministry of Industries for provision of a subsidy amounting to Rs 186.87 million on Atta provided at utility stores during Ramazan 2012. The meeting was also briefed by the Cabinet Division about the implementation status of the decision taken by the ECC in the previous meeting. The Secretary Finance presented a review of key economic indicators before the ECC. He said the year-on-year inflation rate based on consumer price index, wholesale price index and sensitive price index is estimated at 6.9%, 7.6% and 7.3%, respectively.
The ECC was informed that in the regional countries Pakistan”s year-on-year inflation rate remained the lowest. The ECC was also informed that current stock position of wheat, sugar and fertiliser is satisfactory. The secretary further informed the ECC that there is a 1.3% increase in exports in the period July-October and there is 2.2% decrease in imports during the same period.
Whereas there is a visible 15% increase in workers” remittances and there is an increase of 7.7% in net revenue collection by the FBR. The Secretary Finance also informed the ECC that KSE-100 index is registering phenomenal growth during the current financial year. The overall increase in last five months remained 21.8% which is the highest in the world.