Rs410 million approved to deal with big PTI march

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Rs410 million approved to deal with big PTI march

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) authorised a first budget of more than Rs410 million on Monday to deal with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) long march participants harshly. The ECC also supported the move to provide exporters access to affordable power.

During a meeting of the ECC, which was presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, it was decided to first try to persuade Sindh to reconsider its decision to establish the support price at Rs4,000 per 40 kg.

The Interior Ministry requested funding from the ECC in two different reports to cope with the PTI’s extended march. According to the Finance Ministry, “The ECC authorised an additional grant of Rs410.2 million in favour of the Ministry of Interior for costs connected to peace and order.”

The expense of preparing to cope with the demonstrators, which included the deployment of a 30,000-strong force, their food, transportation, anti-riot gear, and monitoring of the protestors, was estimated at Rs 410.2 million.

The ECC was told that 30,000 out-of-district law enforcement officers had been requisitioned for conducting special security responsibilities in the Islamabad Capital Territory in order to maintain the situation of law and order and provide adequate security measures.

The ECC authorised spending Rs. 259 million for renting cars and containers, Rs. 35 million for food, Rs. 31.2 million for fuel costs, and Rs. 18 million for anti-riot equipment. A total of Rs64.4 million has been approved for the purchase and installation of surveillance cameras and other associated equipment, in addition to another Rs2.5 million that will be used to provide housing for this staff for five days.

The PTI has scheduled a demonstration that would take the shape of a lengthy march from several places towards the capital of Islamabad. A definitive date for the long march has not yet been announced by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, but he has urged his party members to be ready for mobilisation.

Exporters

The ECC authorised continuance of the regionally competitive electricity tariff for the export-oriented industries throughout the current fiscal year in order to maintain exports and make export-oriented businesses globally competitive in the face of a slowing economy.

According to the Finance Ministry, the ECC agreed that these segmentors might get power at Rs9.99 per unit, all-inclusive. It further said that the package will be available to Pakistan’s five export-oriented industries, including jute, leather, surgical, and sports items, from October 1 through June 30, 2023.

The federal cabinet had authorised the distribution of cheaper gas until June of the next year, but the decision was later changed as a result of the IMF’s concerns about the subsidy without budgetary support. Ishaq Dar, the finance minister, however, indicated last week that the subsidy programme will be reinstated.

The ECC granted financial commitment to pay the cost of the subsidies until June of the following year, as well as approval to pay the outstanding obligations of Rs. 33 billion. Separately, the Power Division will submit a summary to request the exporters’ supplemental grant.

In order to determine a price for the farmers’ next wheat harvest that would be profitable, the ECC postponed a summary that had been moved. However, the issue was tabled.

The Rs3,000 per 40 kg wheat support price has already been agreed by the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The pricing has not yet been established by the Baloch administration, but the Sindh cabinet has set a support price of Rs 4,000 every 40 kg.

The Chief Minister of Sindh convened a meeting with a Cabinet Committee to discuss the MSP, but no decision was taken. According to the federal government, setting the wheat support price at Rs. 4,000 would dramatically raise inflation, make it impossible for Passco to purchase wheat from Sindh, and encourage other provinces to implement import and export restrictions on wheat.

The price differences across the provinces will be used by farmers and middlemen to disrupt the market, and stockpiling and smuggling are likely to happen. The average local wheat price, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), is Rs2,776.

The inflation rate would increase by 1.27 percent if the minimum support price were set at Rs 3, and it would increase by 2.9% if the price were set at Rs 4, according to information provided to the ECC. The Food Ministry has suggested a price of Rs. 3,00, which would provide them a 20% profit margin, or Rs. 3,200, which would give them a 28% profit.

The Food Ministry also provided a summary for the usage of the Gwadar port and a reform of the pre-shipment inspection agency’s method. The ECC was told that greater risks brought on by changes to the inspection regime and port were to blame for the higher price in the few offers that were received in the tender dated September 26, 2022.

The ECC agreed the suggestion that both adjustments to TCP tender inspection may be temporarily abandoned due to the greater cost of wheat import connected with the two proposals. However, TCP/Ministry of Commerce should guarantee pre-shipment inspection by the top four inspection companies at the loading port. In order to guarantee the import of the designated amount of wheat, TCP was also instructed to publish new bids.