Hanif Lakhany, Vice President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and others welcome the ECC decision
KARACHI: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Wednesday allowed the import of sugar and cotton from India.
Talking to media persons on Wednesday, the newly appointed Federal Finance Minister Hammad Azhar informed about the decision as he chaired the first ECC meeting today.
The ECC has decided to import sugar from India informed Finance Minister. He said that the private sector could import up to 500,000 metric tons of sugar from India. The minister said that the decision will improve our supply chain position and meet the shortage in the domestic market.
Replying to a query, Hammad said that as per their estimates the rate of sugar in India is 15-20 percent lower than in Pakistan.
“Likewise there is a huge demand for cotton in Pakistan due to rise in textile exports. However, the cotton crop output last year was not satisfactory,” he said. Therefore, on the proposal of the Ministry of Commerce, the ECC has decided to allow cotton import from India as well, which will benefit our SMEs, said Azhar.
Hammad said it has been decided to export cotton from India due to lower prices there. The import of cotton from India will start at the end of June, he informed.
On Monday, PM’s Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood got approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan to import cotton and yarn through land route (including India) to meet domestic demand and bring down the prices in the domestic market.
According to Dawood, a meeting was held with the Prime Minister to discuss escalating prices of cotton yarn in the country, adding that the prime minister was sympathetic towards the value-added sector and advised that in order to ease the pressure on yarn and keep the momentum of value-added exports imports from India would be necessary.
Meanwhile, Hammad Azhar said that they have decided to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 1. 50 and Rs 3 per liter, respectively. The Minister said that the decision has been made in light of space available to us due to prices at the international market.
The ECC has decided to keep the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat at Rs 1800 per maund stated Azhar. “I believe that the MPS rate will bring relief to our farmers,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that governments and nations do not move forward without making big decisions, it is not always right to make popular decisions, sometimes difficult decisions have to be made.
Hammad said that we are also aware of the challenges of the economy and are making decisions for the benefit of Pakistan and its people. He said that the talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are ongoing.
On a question regarding the issuance of Sukuks and Eurobonds, the Finance Minister said “We have got higher prices for Eurobonds than other countries.” He said Sukuk bonds will also be issued, but cannot give a date yet.
Pakistan launched a three-tranche bond deal on Tuesday to raise $2.5 billion comprising tranches of five, 10, and 30 years for which it received over $5.3 billion in combined orders.
Hammad Azhar recognized the contributions of his predecessors Hafeez Sheikh and Asad Umar for bringing stability to the economy. He said he will continue to take guidance from both the former Finance Ministers to take the matters towards further improvement.
Hanif Lakhany, Vice President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) & Senior Vice Chairman Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association(PYMA) and Vice Chairman Farhan Ashrafi & convener FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on Yarn Trading, while warmly welcoming for ECC decision to allow import of cotton and cotton yarn from India, stated that PYMA had been urging the government to allow the import of cotton and cotton yarn from India, which is the basic raw materials of the textile industry and after this move, we thank government for giving importance to our demand.