Cotton support price: ECC defers approval of policy framework

Hamza HabibOur Correspondent

28th Jul, 2021. 08:54 pm

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday deferred the proposed. Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2020/25, seeking more input from the stakeholders for approval and fixation of the cotton support price.

Chairing the meeting through a video link, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said the factors related to a market-based realistic exchange rate must be incorporated under the proposed STPF 2020/25.

He also called for including specific measures for encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) and consolidation of the fragmented export industry in Pakistan.

The ECC considered the summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce regarding Strategic Trade Policy Framework for 2020/25 to enhance export competitiveness of the country through a framework of policy interventions.

The proposed STPF 2020/25 also includes a monitoring and implementation mechanism. The underlying rationale is to enhance exports as a national priority through collaborative and cohesive efforts.

After due deliberations, the committee decided to review the draft STPF 2020/25 after having another consultative meeting with all the relevant stakeholders and present an updated policy framework before the next ECC meeting for approval.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) presented a summary regarding intervention price for the cotton crop for FY 2021/22.

The ECC had earlier constituted a committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister for NFS&R, for presenting recommendations to promote cotton production and bring price stability in the domestic market by monitoring local market prices.

The committee deliberated over the recommendations by the Cotton Price Review Committee (CPRC) and it was decided that another consultative session would be held with all the key stakeholders onboard, including the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Finance and the Commerce divisions to finalise the recommendations and present the revised summary before the Cabinet.

The Finance Division tabled a summary to carry forward for FY 2021/22, the unutilised cash component equal to Rs352 billion of the Economic Stimulus Package, amounting to Rs1.24 trillion (given in March 2020) to mitigate the adverse socioeconomic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to support the marginalised sections of the society.

The funds were allocated under the Economic Stimulus Package for the entire duration of the Covid-19 pandemic irrespective of the financial year.

The ECC re-validated the amount of Rs352 billion for the FY 2021/22 for meeting related expenditures, including procurement of vaccine during the ongoing fourth wave of the Covid pandemic, as the federal government aims at vaccinating at least 85 million by December 2021.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Husain, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, federal secretaries, FBR chairman, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

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