The government is likely to allow import of gram and split gram through Wagha and Attari land route from India to overcome shortage of the commodity in local market. Sources told Business Recorder on Friday that on the directions of the Chairman Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet/Finance Minister, a meeting to make recommendations for perusal of the decision of the FM on the import of gram was convened recently.
The Federal Board of Revenue will also submit its comments on the issue. Details revealed that Ministry of Commerce had prepared a draft summary for the ECC of the Cabinet on “bilateral trade of all permissible items with India through Wagha/Attari road route” and circulated the same to concerned stakeholders for seeking their comments before its submission to the ECC of the Cabinet. The proposed Summary besides other items also included import of grams and split grams under the permissible items. Till date comments on the draft Summary have yet to be received from concerned stakeholders except National Logistic Cell (NLC). The NLC being one of the stakeholders and organ of the planning and Development (P&D) Division had some observations on the draft Summary. NLC observed that prior to any decision on the proposed Summary; a meeting of concerned stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Defence may be convened to evaluate the aspects of trade & security at Wagha Border Terminal.
As reported by the Ministry of Commerce, consumption of grams and split grams usually increases manifold during Ramazan, and creates shortage of the commodity in the local market. To address the issue Ministry of Commerce had submitted a Note for the Chairman ECC of the Cabinet with the request to accord approval for import of these two items through Wagha/Attari land route in anticipation of approval of the Summary by the ECC of the Cabinet. After perusal of the case in light of the NLC comments, Chairman ECC of the Cabinet/Finance Minister desired that Secretary, P&D Division may convene a meeting of stakeholders and finalise recommendations for perusal and decision of the FM, sources said.
In compliance with the directions of the Chairman of the ECC/Finance Minister, a meeting of the concerned stakeholders to deliberate upon the subject matter was held on July 26, 2012 in Planning Commission. Chief Transport and Communication Section Planning and Development Division gave a brief background of the matter and then Chairman asked the participants to give comments/views on the matter. Joint Secretary, Commerce Division stated that there were two separate issues which apparently seem to have been clubbed together. Ministry of Commerce had prepared a draft Summary for the ECC of the Cabinet on Bilateral Trade with India for all permissible items including grams and split grams through Wagha/Attari route and requested concerned stakeholders to offer their comments before submission of the Summary to the ECC of the Cabinet. However, in the meanwhile, Ministry of Commerce prepared a note for the Chairman ECC of the Cabinet for seeking his approval for import of both commodities ie grams and split grams from India through Wagha/Attari land route in anticipation of approval of the main Summary. Only anticipatory approval of the Chairman ECC of the Cabinet is being solicited for import of these two commodities. After detailed deliberations, the stakeholders supported the proposal for import of grams and split grams from India as proposed by the Ministry of Commerce and recommended for seeking anticipatory approval of the Chairman ECC of the Cabinet.
It was also proposed that after receipt of comments of concerned stakeholders on the summary for bilateral trade with India for all permissible items, a meeting would be convened by the sponsoring ministry for arriving at a consensus prior to submitting the case to the ECC of the Cabinet, sources added.