ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet on Thursday approved Ministry of Food Security’s summary to increase the support price of wheat for next crop to Rs 1,200 per 40-kg against last year's support price of Rs 1,050/40-kg. Under the chair of Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the economic committee, while holding discussion on various agenda items of national significance, decided to accord approval to the summary that would lead to an increase of over Rs 740 in each 20-kg wheat bag compared to the existing rate of Rs 640. During the discussion, the committee learnt that international prices of wheat were much higher as a result of which wheat from Pakistan was being smuggled to neighbouring countries. It observed that prices of agricultural inputs had sharply risen in the last year, so and wheat growers should be encourage and facilitated through raising the wheat support price. In another important decision, the economic body decided to do away with the prevailing weekly oil price adjustment system in line with National Assembly's resolution calling for discontinuation of the price review method. Instead, it formed a committee of the ministers for law and justice, petroleum and science and technology to architect a practicable mechanism for oil pricing, to be considered in the next meeting. Also, the ECC approved the recommendations about reduction in the age limit of import of used cars from five to three years. These recommendations were brought forward by a committee of the commerce secretary, Ministry of Industries secretary and FBR chairman under the chairmanship of the deputy prime minister. The ECC suggested that the implementation date of the decision be December 15, in a rare measure that would provide relief to the local auto vendors. The ECC also approved the summary of the Ministry of Commerce to allow export of a total of 400,000 MT of sugar. It was informed that there was a huge surplus sugar available in the country and that bumper crop of sugarcane was expected this year. It may be mentioned here that the export of 200,000 MT and 135,834 MT of sugar were already approved by the ECC in its previous meetings and with the approval of export of another 64,166 MT, a total of 400,000 MT sugar would be exported. The measure has been approved in order to improve the liquidity position of sugar mills so that sugarcane growers are paid in time at the rate fixed by the government.The ECC also gave nod to the summary of the Finance Division for the restoration of agricultural tubewells subsidy in Balochistan. The sharing arrangements, recommended by the Finance Division, in consultation with all the stakeholders, were approved by the ECC included tubewell owners: Rs 6,000 per month, govt of Pakistan: 40 per cent of the remaining amount of bill after deducting TW Owner's share, subject to a maximum of Rs 44,000 per month. In case, the bill exceeds Rs.50,000 any amount over and above would be paid by the TW owner and government of Balochistan: 60 per cent of the remaining amount of bill after deducting TW Owner's share, subject to a maximum of Rs 44,000 per month. In case, the bill exceeds Rs 50,000, any amount over and above would be paid by the TW owner.The number of tubewells would be frozen to the level of 15,660. However, the decision will be effective from December 1. The shares given in the above arrangement will be reviewed after two years for proposing further rationalisation in the share of GoP downwards corresponding to the quantum increase in the Divisible Pool share of GoB as well as replacing the existing tubewells by solar tubewells.The ECC also considered the summary of the Ministry of Port and Shipping to strengthen the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) and to make it a vibrant national carrier. In this regard, the ECC approved recommendations of the concerned Ministry to re-enforce the recommendations of the Kazi Committee with full force. These recommendations were: the policy of the Pakistan government is that all public sector cargoes to be carried by the PNSC and all government departments, autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations/corporations are to utilise the services of the PNSC for carrying their cargoes. All contracts and agreements should be FOB with the PNSC nominated as carriers. The PNSC should act as shipping agency for all the ministries, autonomous and semi-autonomous departments of the government, and organisations such as the PSO, TCP, PSM, should have long term contract of affreightment on a market base formula as is being done successfully with the refineries.The ECC also approved the summary of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping for granting extension in the grace period by December 30, 12 for waiver of demurrage charges on the Afghans in transit consignment arrived during flood and between July 1 to December 31, 2010 to clear the occupied space and refund of demurrage charges of the Afghans in transit consignment landed between July 1 December 31, 2010 and cleared up to July 11, 2011.