ISLAMABAD   -   The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has 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.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Cabinet Division. ECC discussed in detail the need to import wheat in the country through the government and private sector. The Chair directed that the availability of wheat is an important issue and there is a need to maintain sufficient stock of wheat in the country which could be made available at a reasonable price. The ECC met on consecutive second day on Thursday to discuss the issue of importing wheat in the country. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has requested ECC to allow 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) import of wheat through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) immediately. Meanwhile, it has also asked to import 0.2 Million Metric Tonnes from Russia through G2G (government to government arrangements).

The import of wheat on G2G basis with the Russian Federation is under way. 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 in order to import a minimum quantity of 0.20 Million Metric Tonnes of wheat. On Wednesday, the ECC has not agreed with Ministry of National Food Security and Research to import wheat. Hafeez Shaikh has asked as to how the ministry reached the conclusion that additional wheat imports were required only weeks after a decision for import of 1.5m tonnes currently in process and on what basis it wanted to allocate quantities between the private and public sector. He also wanted to know what sort of consultations had been made with provinces, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and PASSCO on the issue.