ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday constituted a sub-committee to give recommendations for imposing ban on the export of wheat as proposed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired a meeting of the ECC of the Cabinet. The Committee considered various proposals of Ministries/Divisions, here. The Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research updated the meeting about the availability of wheat stock in the country.

He informed that 28 million tons of wheat stock was available against the total national requirement of 25.84 million tons. Ministry of National Food Security and Research has recommended the ECC to impose ban on export of wheat. Pakistan has missed wheat production target as the country produced 24.12 million tonnes of wheat against the set target of 25.5 million tonnes from an area of 8.833 million hectares during Rabi season 2018-19. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research recommended that the government should ban the export of wheat following a significant decrease in production of the commodity in the country during Rabi season 2018-19 due to heavy rains.

The Committee deliberated upon the proposal of the Ministry to impose ban on export of wheat and referred the matter to the Constituted Committee of the ECC to make its recommendations in this regard.

28 million tons available against requirement of 25.84 million tons

Meanwhile, the Power Division briefed the Committee about cash and non-cash settlement for power sector. Power Division has suggested to the government to earmark Rs 80 billion for continuation of Industrial Support Package of Rs 3 per unit next fiscal year or discontinue it with immediate effect. The ECC resolved the issue of Industrial Support Package (ISP) by adjusting it against the loans receivable from Power Sector entities.

It formed a Committee, comprising of senior representatives from Power, Finance & Economic Affairs Divisions, to address the issue of ISP. Regarding K-electric, the Committee directed that the ISP claim of K-electric, amounting to approximately Rs 30 billion, may be looked into and solid recommendations be made. Power Division, has proposed that ISP claims of Discos payable by Ministry of Finance as of May 31, 2019 of Rs 87.26 billion be allowed as non-cash adjustment against federal government outstanding re-lent loan receivable as on June 30, 2018 from Chashma Nuclear Power Plants (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission), Wapda and NTDC against the payable of power sector to same entities through book adjustment at the level of CPPA-G. The ISP claims of KE must be treated separately through cash settlement.

The ECC also resolved the long standing issue with regard to payment of subsidized power supply to AJK by way of cash and non-cash settlement with no financial impact on AJK. In order to revive and strengthen the shipping sector of Pakistan, the ECC approved, in principle, the proposal of Ministry of Maritime Affairs to provide tax relief on import of ships.

The Committee directed the Ministry to make substantial changes to the proposals before submitting them to the Cabinet for final approval. The Committee also approved Technical Supplementary and Supplementary Grants for different Ministries/Divisions.