KARACHI - The Sindh cabinet, after thorough discussion and deliberations, has approved fixation of the issue price of wheat at Rs3687.50 per 100 kg bag so that ex-mill atta price could be brought down by Rs9.13 per kg.

The meeting was under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at CM House on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by all provincial ministers, advisors, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Advocate General Salman Talibddin, Chairman P&D M. Waseem and concerned secretaries.

Secretary Food giving a presentation to the cabinet said that at present a wheat stock of 1.262 MMT was available in six divisions of the province. He added that the atta prices were stable in the market which has been recorded at Rs57 per kg.

The Chief Minister said that the atta price has to be brought down because wheat was available in the market, therefore prices must come down. On the recommendation of Minister for Food Hari Ram approved releasing of wheat to flour mills from October 16.

The issue price after thorough discussion was approved at Rs3687.50 per 100 kg with bardana. With the new issue price of wheat that atta prices would come down by Rs9.13 and the new price of atta would come to Rs47.87 per kg. The Chief Minister directed the food department to ensure reduction of atta price at ex-mill level and keep informing the district minister so that they could control at retail level. The CM directed the Chief Secretary to mobilise the district administration and pass on the benefit of reduction of atta price by Rs9.13 per kg to the people of the province.

Islands Issue: At the outset of the cabinet meeting the issue of Island came under discussion. The cabinet members, once again, called upon the federal government to withdraw controversial ordinance promulgated to establish Islands authority. 

The cabinet members said that no talks on the island would be held with the federal government until and unless the controversial ordinance was withdrawn.

The cabinet termed the ordinance an attempt to grab provincial government lands by trampling the rights of local fishermen. “We will not accept the ordinance as it is against the provincial autonomy and against the interest of local people,” the cabinet members said unanimously.

Infrastructure Cess: Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh said that the Excise & Taxation Department had granted exemption from Infrastructure Cess on imports of coal mining and coal-based electricity generation companies in Thar Coal Filed. He added that it was time bound and expired on June 30,2020.

It was also pointed out that the Economic Coordination Committee had also announced an Incentive package to accelerate development in Thar. The ECC incentives include zero percent custom duty, exemption from special excise duty, federal excise duty, workers welfare and participation funds, withholding tax on procurement of goods and services and other levies for 30 years.

The cabinet was informed that SECM was producing 3.8 MTPA coal in phase-I and catering power generation of 660 MW. Financial close for its phase-II has been achieved to double the production, 7.8 MTPA. It would cater further power generation of two 330 MW power plants.

A Chinese company SSRL has obtained financial close for development of a 7.8 mtpa mine at Block-1 of Thar Coalfield. This would cater to power generation of 1320 MW. Similarly, other local companies would generate 660 MW electricity. 

Keeping in view the development potential in Thar Coalfield, the cabinet approved exemption of Infrastructure Development Cess (IDC) on imports for a period of 30 years as per ECC 30-year incentive package.

The provincial cabinegt also approved enhancement of Sindh Sales Tax on Services of transportation or carriage of petroleum oils throught oil tankers from 13 percent to 15 percent to maintain uniformity with other provinces. It would not create any burden on the cosumers and would not develop any impact on the petroleum prices.  

The cabinet approved a draft bill of “The IBA Sukkur University Sukkur (Amendment) Act, 2020 just to maintain uniformity in the organization, management and control of public sector universities and degree awarding institutes by amending certain laws. The approved amendments were referred to the assembly. 

The cabinet approved the appointment of Mr Abdul rauf Chandio as Chief Executive Officer 9CEO) of the Sindh Modaraba management Ltd for a period of three years being the first priority candidate as suggested by the Board of Directors of the company.