The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has decided to import 0.5 million tons of urea for Rabi season from the international market through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP); of which 0.3 million tons to be imported in November while the remaining 0.2 million tons in December 2013. The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also directed Ministry of Petroleum to ensure gas supply to fertilizer plants during Rabi season in line with their quota to enable them achieve production targets.
Finance Ministry was directed to release subsidy to the TCP so that import of urea and other activities of corporation remain unaffected. The meeting expressed satisfaction that the quarterly release of urea subsidy of Rs 7.5 billion was being made to TCP as per schedule. National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML), Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and Finance Division were also directed to reconcile their payments with TCP within two weeks to settle dues. The representatives of NFML informed the meeting that they had paid an amount of Rs 1.3 billion to the TCP on Wednesday. The ECC directed Ministry of Industries to reconcile outstanding amount of USC and TCP within eight weeks.
The ECC constituted a committee headed by Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Mohammad Asif to prepare an automobile policy and present it to the ECC within 45 days. Zubair Umar would be the Vice Chairman of the committee. Chief Executive Officer of Engineering Development Board (EDB), Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Secretary Industries and Production will be its members. The committee has been tasked to solicit the views of representatives of auto manufacturers and car vendors and widely circulate the draft policy to solicit proposals of all stakeholders.
The ECC approved a proposal moved by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for the release of second tranche of 75,000 metric tons of wheat to the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure continued food support to 1,75,500 displaced families of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PASCO would be directed to release wheat to WFP.
The ECC also approved a proposal moved by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry to withdraw its earlier decision of July 3, 2012 for restructuring of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) an organisation engaged in cotton research and development. The ECC decided to reconstitute the PCCC with 18 members including one member each from the four provinces and the Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (PTMA) and a nominee of APTMA as its members. Other members of the committee include Federal Minister for Textile Industry, Secretaries Ministry of Textile Industry, Finance, Planning and Development, National Food Security, Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council Islamabad, Vice President PCCC, Chairman Karachi Cotton Association, Chairman Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association, Secretary Agriculture Government of Sindh, Secretary Agriculture Government of Punjab. The meeting decided that the position of the Vice President of PCCC may be advertised and an experienced and senior research scientist be hired for the post.
The ECC was informed that the country”s year-on-year inflation rate (CPI) registered an increase of 7.4 percent in September 2013 against the predictions that the inflation rate would be higher like previous two months that had registered an increase of 8.5 percent in August 2013 an 8.3 percent in July 2013. The meeting expressed satisfaction at the present ((September 25) wheat stock of 6.7 million tons.
The ECC was informed that there is 27 days stock of oil reserves in the country, large scale manufacturing had shown an increase of 3.7 percent while FBR collected Rs 481 billion showing a cumulative growth of 17 percent in the first quarter. The ECC noted with satisfaction that all benchmarks agreed with the IMF have been achieved in the first quarter.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Senator Pervez Rashid, Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister for National Food Security, Sikandar Bosan, Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid, Ms Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for Information Technology, Chairman FBR, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Zubair Umar Chairman Board of Investment and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Water and Power, Planning and Development, Commerce, Communications and Industries.