ISLAMABAD - Despite expecting bumper sugarcane crop, the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) on Thursday allowed import of 100,000 tons of sugar for maintaining reserves for supply to the utility stores to support the low-income groups in case of a price rise. The ECC met with Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in chair allowed to import one lakh tons of sugar instead of the proposed quantity of 700,000 tons by the Utility Stores Corporation to maintain the stability in the market and ensure sugar availability. The summary was moved by the Ministry of Industries. Official of the ministry told TheNation that the country is not expecting any shortage, and the import of one lakh tons of sugar would help in maintaining reserves that could help in countering any manipulation by hoarders as it happened occasionally. Pakistan is expecting a bumper crop of up to 4.5 million tons during the year 2011-12 and the Ministry has already announced that the country would not require any import of the commodity during the ongoing year. Meanwhile, the ECC did not approve the much awaited trade policy for the ongoing financial year 2011-2012, and sources said that it might be approved in the next meeting. However, the ECC rejected the summary of the Commerce Ministry to impose ban on the export of live animals, as the apex economy decision-making body directed the Ministry to resubmit the summary after having detailed consultations with two provinces, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa where the cattle breeding is one of the major sources of their income. The Commerce Ministry contended in the summary that it was approached by the Pakistan Tanners Association and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and others involved in the export of value-added leather export products, have reported that there is an acute shortage of raw material which is leading to increase in the price of livestock at exorbitant rate. If the present situation persists, the Ministry of Commerce stresses, Pakistans major export for finished leather and value added leather products will substantially decrease. The ECC also directed the Commerce Ministry to check the smuggling of the cattle to neighbouring countries and regulate the mechanism for the proper implementation of government policies for the livestock export. The ECC has approved the enhancement of the mark up on the loans of ZTBL. The ECC allowed removal of the cap on subsidized lending (markup rate of 8-9 per cent) by ZTBL and allowed the bank to effect gradual increase in the markup rate to current level in three-year period. The ECC also constituted a committee to deliberate upon the import of urea for Rabi 2011-12 whose summary was moved by the Ministry of Industries and discussed the two scenarios for meeting requirement. Scenario one depicts import of 0.7 million tons for Rabi 2011-12. 0.3 million tons to reach end of October and 0.4 million tons end of November 2011 and scenario two depict import of 1.2 million tons for Rabi 2011-12. 0.4 million tons to reach end of October and 0.4 million tons end of November 2011 and 0.4 by end December 2011. The committee was constituted comprising Ministers for Production and that of Petroleum and Natural Resources including Secretary Finance and the committee will meet the senior Minister for Industries in this regard. The ECC also approved the grant of further two-year extension to M/s ENI Pakistan limited to retain area B of Badhra Development and Production Lease. In the key economic indicators area, the Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood briefed the committee about the fertilizers situation and said that there is a balance of 122,000 M/tons of fertilizers for the coming Rabi crop. The Secretary briefed the committee that the stock of the wheat as on October 10 was 8.6 million tons showing a sufficient quantity of local wheat to be released by provincial food departments and PASSCO to flour mills. Workers remittances were to be Rs 3.3 billion that is showing 25 per cent growth, the ECC was informed. Tax collection for the period July-September stood at Rs.369 billion as compared to Rs.294 billion of the last year in the same period. There is a positive growth of 26 per cent in net tax collection. The meeting was also informed that fertilizer situation that 122,000 metric tons is under loading/voyage and expected to arrive by the end of this month and At the start of the meeting it was stated that 27 ECC meetings have been held during the 15-month tenure of the last Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin in which 237 decisions were implemented out of 242 decisions. Five decisions were under implementation. In the same way total 25 ECC meetings were held during the 18 months tenure of the present Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in which 231 decisions were implemented out of 253 decisions and 22 decisions are under implementation.