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Wheat procurement: ECC issues directives on the issue of bank charges

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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has directed Secretaries of Finance and National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) on the issue of bank charges on wheat procurement, that provincial governments should meet these charges from their own fiscal space, sources close to Secretary Finance told Republic policy.
On April 28, 2023, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the ECC that the public sector, comprising PASSCO and provincial governments, procures local wheat to stabilise wheat prices and ensure fair returns to farmers during the post-harvest period. Punjab and Sindh were considered wheat-producing zones, with a share of 76 per cent and 15 per cent in national wheat production, respectively. The share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan was five per cent and four per cent, respectively.
The government of Sindh had devised a plan to procure 1.40 MMT of local wheat at Rs4,000/40 Kg. A cash Credit Limit (CCL) of Rs214 billion has been requested. This amount constitutes Rs140 billion for the purchase of wheat, while the remaining amount of Rs74.00 billion would be utilised on banks borrowing charges. Incidental charges to retain wheat crop for 2023-24 had been estimated at Rs917.6/40 Kg. However, incidental charges would be borne from their own budgetary provisions.

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