Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has met today with the Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair. The ECC has allowed export of one lac ton of sugar. This decision was taken after a detailed review of the sugar situation in the country.
It may be recalled that the ECC in its last meeting on 20th January 2012 had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Minister for Textiles to examine the export of sugar holistically and submit its recommendations subsequently. The sub-committee in its recommendations had suggested that two lac tons of sugar may be exported on first come first basis purely through the private sector.
The Chairman ECC Dr. Shaikh had a detailed resume of the sugar situation from the line ministries which maintained that the left over stocks from 2010 to 2011 were 9 lac tons, and the current crop is expected to yield record production of around 45 lac to 50 lac tons. Taking annual consumption of 42 lac tons, expected surplus would be around 15 lac tons.
The export of sugar, it may be added here, is banned since 2009. The Minister while allowing the export of sugar, asked the concerned ministries to ensure that no single party alone be benefited, and modalities in this regard for the export be finalized in coordination with the State Bank of Pakistan.
The next item of the agenda of the ECC that appeared on the table was the representation of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association to the Prime Minister requesting the government to procure one million bales of cotton lint at Rs.6500/bale.
During the deliberations in the ECC it was observed that only a small stock of cotton that is less than 10% is lying with the growers, and any intervention in such a situation shall not be prudent for cotton market as well as for the spirit of the government and for the farmers also.
In line with the deliberations, the ECC decided that the policy of free market should continue and let market forces define the prices of cotton in the country. It may be mentioned here that the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) have also opposed the government intervention in the cotton price mechanism.
Later the ECC deferred a summary moved by the Ministry of Water and Power for the levy of GST on Hydro Electric Power Sector, and asked the line ministry to revisit the ECC alongwith the Chairman Water and Power Development Authority.
Taking cognizance of the matter pertaining to the payments of sugar millers by the TCP, the ECC directed Chairman TCP who was not in the meeting, to apprise the Cabinet Division and Finance Division on daily basis of the payments made to the millers.
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