ECC approves wheat import, six debt rescheduling agreements worth $189.52m

Amount of debt suspended from Italy is $1.12 million, Japan $185.26 million and Spain $3.14 million.

ISLAMABAD    -   The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday approved wheat im­port and six debt rescheduling agreements with three countries including Italy, Japan and Spain amounting to $189.52 million.

The ECC meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail, has considered the summary of Ministry of Economic Affairs on G-20 Debt Service Suspen­sion Initiative (DSSI). This debt relief, termed as DSSI-I, for IDA eligible countries to mitigate the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 was announced in April 2020. Currently, further six agreements for DSSI-III with Italy, Japan and Spain have been negotiated and finalized. Fore­going in view, for signing of 6 debt rescheduling agreements with the 03 creditor countries by secretary EAD on behalf of government of Pakistan, this summary was presented in ECC.

After discussion, the ECC agreed rescheduling of the agreement proposed by EAD on account of deferred payments due to Covid-19. According to the summary, amount of debt suspended from Italy is $1.12 million, Japan $185.26 million and Spain $3.14 million. The government would sign single agreement with Italy, three with Japan and two with Spain. Mean­while, one additional agreement with Japan for suspension of $26 million is under negotiation.

Ministry of National Food, Se­curity and Research presented a summary on refixing of national wheat strategic reserves to the level of 2.00 MMT. In the wake of recent rainfall and flood damages ensuing financial issues of farm­ers for the next wheat sowing season, rising local wheat prices and hoarding and smuggling is­sues, the aforementioned quan­tity is insufficient. Therefore, in order to ensure wheat availabil­ity across the border and to sta­bilize local wheat prices, it was proposed that the quantum of wheat strategic reserves may be retained at the level of 2 MMT. In view of above, the ECC approved the revision of ECC decision for import of 3 MMT of milling wheat and allowed for maintenance of strategic reserves of wheat at the level of 2.00 MMT, includ­ing a quantity of 0.080 MMT on account of SAARC food bank. Furthermore, TCP was directed to arrange a further quantity of 0.8 MMT through G2G or open tender. It was added that import of 0.8 MMT wheat is allowed to private sector with proviso that subsidy shall not be provided for such imports of wheat. National FATF Coordination Committee on AML/CFT presented a sum­mary for approval for arrange­ments/ expenditure related to on-site visit of FATF/APG asses­sors’ team. It was shared that FATF team comprising of 15 members will visit from 29 Aug to 2 Sep. 2022 in order to verify the stance of Pakistan as report­ed in cyclic reports. In this regard, a summary for allocation of TSG of Rs. 7 million was presented. ECC approved this summary.

Ministry of Communication submitted a summary for ex­tension of time to complete the business plan of NHA from June 30, 2022 to Sep. 30, 2022. It was shared that NHA has al­ready shared information with ADB consultant for prepara­tion of business plan of NHA. However additional time is re­quired to complete the same. This summary was approved by ECC after through deliberation with the provision that no fur­ther extension would be given. In case, a further extension is sought, Finance Division will start deducting interest on Cash Development Loans (CDL).

Ministry of Poverty allevia­tion and social safety submitted a summary for emergency cash assistance to affectees of flash floods 2022. Unprecedented rains and flash floods across the country have resulted in loss of lives and properties. In view of above, ECC approved the summary and directed BISP to disburse a total of Rs. 25000/household in calamity affected districts for poverty score up to 32. It was also added that Fi­nance Division will consult with BISP to discuss the financial implications and required mo­dalities. Furthermore, Federal government will ask the prov­inces to provide their share in the relief for flood affectees

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