ISLAMABAD   -  The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has decided to propose provincial governments to undertake a fresh stock-taking of wheat in godowns to ensure adequate supplies in the winter season.

The ECC has thoroughly discussed the wheat situation in the country and decided to continue ban on export of wheat flour in the light of a briefing by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. It instructed the Ministry of Finance to call an early meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee to assess the wheat and flour supply situation in different parts of the country, including the federal capital in view of recent reports of rising prices of some core food items, including flour.

The approval was granted at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet which met here at the Cabinet Block with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.

The ministry of commerce has notified the ban on the export of wheat and flour. The government has imposed ban on wheat and flour export after heavy rains coupled with hailstorms that affected wheat crop. According to the ministry of national food security and research, the country has adequate stocks of wheat, which would cater to needs of the population. However, the ministry said that the procured wheat in the current year was 33 percent less than the quantity purchased by the government last year. According to the data of the ministry of national food security and research, wheat reserves stood at 7.775 million tons as against 11.37 million tons at the same time last year, showing a reduction. The country has produced 24.12 million tons of wheat against the target of 25.5 million tons from an area of 8.833 million hectares during the Rabi season 2018-19. Rains coupled with hailstorms have affected wheat crop in the country and reduced the size of the wheat crop by 1.28 million tons.

The ECC has approved separate proposals for payment of over Rs1.5 billion subsidy charges to the executing agencies of the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme as well as transfer of Rs2 billion funds from the Cabinet Division to the Planning, Development and Reform Division as a technical supplementary grant.

The ECC considered a proposal by the Finance Division and approved a technical supplementary grant amounting to Rs1.516 billion in Cost Centre KA-3012-Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme from development expenditure of Finance Division in favour of development expenditure outside the Public Sector Development Programme during the current financial year.

The ECC also approved a proposal by the Planning, Development and Reform Division for surrender of funds amounting to Rs2 billion from its demand related to SDGs Achievement Programme (SAP) in favour of the Planning, Development and Reform Division for the year 2019-20 as a Technical Supplementary Grant to meet the requirements of important projects without affecting the overall PSDP allocation of the federal government.