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Ishaq Dar chairs ECC meeting

Ishaq Dar chairs ECC meeting

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar has chaired a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which has approved a proposal of Ministry of Industries for procurement of 150,000 MT of sugar from domestic sugar mills by Trading Corporation of Pakistan for supply to Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

The ECC also decided to place before it a comprehensive policy for procurement of sugar so that a mechanism can be worked out for purchase of regular requirements of TCP.

The Finance Minister noted with satisfaction that a bumper crop of sugarcane assures a satisfactory stock position of sugar in the country.

The ECC decided for sugar mills that the new dates of crushing season for sugar mills in Sindh would be November 20 and November 25 in Punjab with the condition that sugar mills would start procurement of the sugarcane from farmers from these dates. The ECC had earlier decided that the crushing season for sugar mills would begin from November 1 for Sindh and November 15 for Punjab. The extension is being given in view of Ashura.

The ECC extended the date for export of sugar of 500,000 tons allowed by it till December 31. No further extension would be given on this count, the ECC noted.

The ECC was informed that Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has given a categorical assurance that all dues of sugarcane growers have been cleared.

Local manufactures of Bopet films have the combined capacity to produce 48,000 tons which is in access to the national requirement of 34,000 tons. They have approached FBR to withdraw concessional duty on its import which is presently 5%. ECC decided that this matter will be reviewed by the committee chaired by Secretary Industries, Secretary Commerce, Secretary FBR and representatives of National Tariff Commission and a report submitted for it before November 18 for decision.

It would be pertinent to mention here that Bopet films are used for lamination and allied purposes. The agenda item regarding concessionary duty on Bopet films was deferred till the receipt of the decision by the committee.

The ECC was informed that power production from Biomass/Begasse by sugar mills would add 1500MW to 2000MW in the next 3 years. The ECC approved a revised language to remove an anomaly for tax exemption as stipulated in power policy 2012 and Income Tax Ordinance 2001. This will provide equal treatment under the frame work and remove the anomaly in order to create a level playing field to all perspective investors.

The ECC expressed concern over the unprecedented increase in the prices of onions, potatoes and other vegetables. It directed the federal and provincial authorities to monitor the prices of vegetables.

The ECC approved a request of the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to grant it time till December 15, 2013 to put up a report on the study to establish a basis for revision of margin for oil Marketing Companies and dealers.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervez Rashid, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja M Asif, Minister for National Food Security Sikandar Bosan, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for Privatization Khurram Dastagir, Chairman FBR, Governor State Bank of PakistanYaseen Anwar, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Umar and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Water and Power, Planning and Development, Commerce, Communications and Industries.