ISLAMABAD-The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved the import of 180,000 MT of wheat from Russia on GTG (Government to Government) basis by waiving off all taxes/levies duties on the import of wheat.

The ECC has also allowed the exemption from sales tax on supply of sugar imported through Trade Corporation of Pakistan of upto 300,000 MT and allowed the amendment of SRO 751(1)/2020 dated August 20, 2020 of the Revenue Division for the purpose.

The ECC meeting, chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, considered the summary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research for importing wheat from Russia. The ECC has approved the import of 180,000 MT of wheat from Russia on GTG basis waiving off all taxes/levies duties on GTG import of wheat. 

The forum was informed that about 5 million tons of wheat was available with the public sector in stocks. In terms of import 430,000 tons has already been imported by the private sector and another 1.1 million ton was expected to be imported by the end of December 2020. In terms of wheat import by the public sector, TCP has already opened an LC for importing 330, 0000 MT of wheat while TCP is in the process of tendering another about 1.2 million tons. Another 180,000 tons are imported through GTG arrangement from Russia.

The PASSCO (Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation) has been nominated as procurement agency on behalf of Government of Pakistan to negotiate terms and conditions with the Russian side to import. 

Earlier, in September, the ECC had decided that Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) will start importing wheat in the required quantities through small tenders from time to time to maintain the wheat supply at a reasonable price and for keeping additional strategic reserves.

National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce on Monday had demanded government to fix support price of wheat and to announce maximum incentives for local growers to get rid of wheat crisis. The Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Food Security & Research briefed the Committee on import/exports of wheat and informed that the cabinet has approved import of 1.5 million MT (Metric Tonne) of wheat by Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) on the recommendation of the Ministry of Food Security & Research to meet the demand in the country, which will be provided to Punjab, PASSCO and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Committee observed that the price of wheat in the market is higher than the imported rate or landed price. The Committee also observed that benefit of subsidy is going to foreign farmers in shape of import of wheat at higher rates.