ISLAMABAD                   -               The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has notified the withdrawal of regulatory duties on the import of sugar and wheat in order to reduce the commodities prices in the country.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on January 20 this year had allowed import of 0.3 million tonnes of wheat to decrease the local wheat price and meet the domestic requirement. Under the decision, the wheat would be imported by the private sector by withdrawing regulatory duty to the extent of the approved quantity. The ECC further decided that the wheat to be imported under the ECC decision would be allowed in the country until March 31, 2020 to ensure that the local wheat to be available from the start of April was picked up at the right price from the market.

Following the decision, the FBR has notified the withdrawal of regulatory duty on import of wheat. The FBR has issued SRO 119 (I) 20200 in this regard.

Similarly, the FBR has also issued another notification, SRO.127 (I)/2020, relating to withdrawal of 40 percent regulatory duty on the import of sugar.

The ECC on February 10, 2020 had decided to impose ban on sugar exports to control the commodity’s soaring price in the country. However, the ECC had decided that in case there was a considerable decrease in available stock, it would be willing to reconsider the proposal for sugar import as well as removal of tariffs and taxes on imports. Therefore, the ECC on Monday notified the decision of withdrawing regulatory duty on sugar.

It is worth mentioning here that sugar prices had started rising a couple of months ago, as the government had put the issue on the backburner. The federal government had banned sugar exports when the commodity prices were hovering around Rs 90 per kg in the retail market. Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) had also asked the government to allow duty free import of raw sugar to process and export.

The Ministry of Industries and Production had requested that the TCP should import 0.3 million tons of sugar in order to maintain the strategic reserves. However, ECC decided not to import sugar after reviewing the current stock. Around 1.719 million tonnes of sugar stock is available in the country. Traditionally, a strategic reserve of two months is maintained in the country with a monthly requirement of 0.458 million tonnes.