To meet domestic demand, the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) has in principle allowed the import of sugar and cotton from India.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, new Federal Finance Minister Hammad Azhar announced the decision while chairing the first meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee today.
According to the Minister of Finance, the ECC decided to import sugar from India. He said the private sector could import up to 500,000 metric tons of sugar from India. “This solution will improve our supply chain situation and solve the shortage problem in the domestic market,” the minister said.
When asked, Hammad said he had estimated that the price level of sugar in India was 15-20 percent lower than the level of Pakistan.
Pakistan also has a high demand for cotton due to increased textile exports. However, last year’s cotton harvest was unsatisfactory. Azhar said that based on a proposal from the Ministry of Commerce, the ECC decided to allow cotton to be imported from India as well, which would benefit small and medium enterprises.
Hammad said that it was decided to import cotton from India due to the low prices there. The report says that cotton imports from India will start at the end of June.
The Prime Minister’s Advisor for Trade and Investment, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, on Monday received permission from Prime Minister Imran Khan to import cotton and yarn by land (including India) to meet domestic demand and lower market prices.
Dawood said that a meeting was held with the Prime Minister to discuss the high prices of cotton yarn in the country, adding that the Prime Minister sympathized with the value-added sector and recommended reducing pressure on spinning and value-added exports. It will be required for India imports.
Meanwhile, Hammad Azhar said that they decided to reduce gasoline and diesel prices by 1.50 and 3 rupees per liter, respectively. The minister said that the decision was taken taking into account the space available to us due to the prices in the global market.
According to Azhar, ECC decided to keep the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat at 1,800 rupees per month. “I think MPS regulation will bring relief to our farmers,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that states do not go forward without making important decisions. It is not always correct to make generally acceptable decisions, and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made.
“We are also aware of the problems plaguing the economy, and we are making decisions in the interest of Pakistan and its people,” Hammad said. According to him, negotiations are continuing with the International Monetary Fund.
In response to a question about the issuance of international sukuk and bonds, the Minister of Finance said: “We have higher rates for Eurobonds compared to other countries.” He said the sukuk bonds would also be issued, but he could not specify a date.
Pakistan on Tuesday issued three-tier bonds to raise $ 2.5 billion in five, 10 and 30-year tranches for which it has received more than $ 5.3 billion in syndicated bids.
Hammad Azhar acknowledged the contribution of his predecessors, Hafez Sheikh and Asaad Omar, in ensuring the stability of the economy. He said he would continue to receive guidance from former finance ministers to move things towards further improvement.
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