ECC okays hike in OMCs' margins, cotton import from CARs.

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet allowed import of cotton from Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs)as well as approved to revise oil marketing companies' (OMCs) and dealers' margins on the basis of 85 percent of the latest average core inflation with immediate effect.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the ECC meeting on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Commerce tabled a summary before the ECC seeking permission for import of cotton from Afghanistan and Central Asian States through land route via Torkham border to bridge the gap between supply and demand and to ensure sufficient availability of cotton for promoting textile exports.

The ECC had granted such permission earlier to workout necessary arrangements with reference to Plant Quarantine Rules to meet Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for import of cotton via land routes. Ministry of Commerce requested to extend the above permission for import of cotton via land route during the current financial year. The ECC approved the said request subject to fulfilment of codal formalities.

The Petroleum Division updated the ECC about the recommendations firmed up by a sub-committee established in line with the earlier decision of the ECC dated 28 Jan, 2021 regarding review of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Dealers Margins on Petroleum products. After detailed discussion, the ECC approved to revise OMCs and Dealers Margins on the basis of 85% of the latest average core inflation with immediate effect, and directed to expedite a study by PIDE.

The Power Division submitted another summary about re-targeting of the power sector subsidies (phase-I). The committee considered and approved the proposals recommending that Power Division will complete the analysis based on the listed principles and submit specific recommendations on thresholds and rates for the consumers before the ECC by 31st March, 2021.

The Ministry of Industries and Production presented a 'Ramzan Relief Package-2021'. The Utility Stores Corporation would subsidize 19 essential items under the proposed relief package entailing subsidy equivalent to approximately Rs7.8 billion including wheat flour, sugar and ghee which have significant differential vis-a-vis prevailing prices in the domestic markets.

The committee directed MD USC to coordinate with the Finance Division for timely release of funds to ensure well-timed procurement and other...

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