ISLAMABAD  -    In order to bring down prices of Naan and Roti across the country, the government has decided to revise gas tariff for Tandoors with effect from July 1, 2019 and provide subsidy of Rs1.51 billion for this purpose.

The decision was taken in a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet which met here with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in chair, on Wednesday.

The ECC took up the issue of increased prices of Roti and approved a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Energy to revise gas prices for Roti Tandoors with effect from 1st July, 2019 in the larger interest of the general public.

The prices of Naan and Roti were increased due to hike in gas prices. At present Naan is selling at Rs12-15 in different cities of the country. However, before an increase in the gas tariff and rates of wheat flour, Naan price ranged between Rs8-10. Similarly, Roti is available at Rs10-12 while its previous rate was Rs7-8.

The ECC decided to provide relief to the masses by reverting gas prices for Roti Tandoors to position of 30th June, 2019. The decision was taken despite the fact that price of wheat which contributes 55-60 percent to price of the Roti had remained unchanged while gas bills that contribute 20-25 percent to the price of Roti, had also not been issued as yet under the new tariff having come into effect from 1st July, 2019.

The government would release Rs1.51 billion as subsidy for not increasing gas prices for Tandoors to reduce Roti and Naan prices.

Meanwhile, under the decision, a detailed survey of Tandoors across the country would be carried out in order to ensure that benefit of revision in gas tariff was made applicable to stand-alone Tandoors or roadside restaurants catering to the poor and no undue benefit was passed on to Tandoors in hotels or larger restaurants which were to be treated as commercial gas connections.

The ECC meeting also called for effective price control by provincial governments and relevant authorities to ensure sale of Roti at its old price and decided to review the decision after three months in case Tandoor owners failed to pass benefit of reduced gas prices to the common man.

A report on wheat situation in the country was also presented to the ECC as directed in the earlier meeting of the ECC. The meeting was briefed that there were 7.635 million tons of wheat stocks available with PASSCO and provincial food departments. It was also mentioned during the meeting that after imposition of the ban on export of wheat and wheat flour, there had been a considerable reduction in wheat prices in market and the situation would eventually reduce prices of Roti and Naan in the market.

On a summary moved by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC decided to impose 10 percent regulatory duty on import of cotton. Cotton produced in Pakistan, is largely, consumed by 450 textile units across the country which contributes to export earnings of the country. Pakistan produces around 13 million bales of cotton and imports about one million bales to meet gap between consumption and production. Around 1-1.5 million bales Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton per annum is also imported at any production level, as this quality is not produced in Pakistan.

According to summary presented in ECC, cotton production in 2018-19(9.98 million bales) has witnessed 16 per cent decrease relative to last year (11.98 million bales in 2017-18).

However, for the year 2019-20, the government has fixed an ambitious target. In this backdrop, it is apprehended that if import of cotton continues to be facilitated, it might create an imbalance in cotton stocks.

The implementation of ‘Authorised Economic Operator Programme” (AEO) as envisaged under section 212 A(1) of the Customs Act, 1969 was also approved by the ECC. The ECC also allowed the two LNG re-gasification Terminals (Terminal 1, Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited and Terminal 2, Pakistan Gas Port Consortium Limited) to allocate additional re-gasification capacity of terminal, if any, to third parties on a commercial basis under mutually agreed arrangements subject to certain conditions.

The ECC also approved authorisation of CPPA to sign the interim agreement regarding revised payment terms for generation on LNG by Altern Energy Limited, Kot Addu Power Company Limited & Public sector Gencos and extension of interim agreement signed with Fauji Kabirwala and Rousch Power Limited expiring on 30th June 2018.