ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday allowed the subsidised export of wheat products for a month, deregulated CNG prices for Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and exempted the Crop Loan Insurance Scheme from advance income tax.
Presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECC approved a summary submitted by the Finance Division regarding the lifting of the withholding tax on loan and insurance schemes for small farmers. The summary sought exemption from the purview of Section 236U of Income Tax Ordnance 2001 for the Crop Loan Insurance Scheme and Livestock Insurance Scheme, which are aimed at providing risk cover to mitigate losses in the case of natural disasters.
Under Section 236U, every insurance company is responsible for collecting advance tax at the time of the collection of the insurance premium from non-filers in respect of the general insurance premium at the rate of 4 per cent and 2pc from filers.
The committee approved extension in the wheat export date from November 30 to December 31. The deadline of November 30 was fixed six months ago with a rebate of about $120 per tonne, equally shared by the federal and respective provinces ie Punjab and Sindh.
The meeting also approved that the same rate of rebate will be given on the export of wheat products, like suji, maida and wheat flour fine, as available on the per-kilogram wheat export. This will mean that one kilogram of suji, maida and wheat flour fine will be exported against one kilogram of wheat issued so that there will be no extra claim of rebate.
The decision was taken on the request of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), which reported more than three million tonnes of exportable wheat surplus. The ministry proposed allowing the export of the equal quantity of suji, maida and wheat flour fine equivalent to the quota of wheat issued because of difficulties in the export of wheat.
The ECC approved another proposal of the MNFSR for maintaining the minimum guaranteed price (MGP) of wheat at Rs1,300 per 40kg for the wheat crop of 2016-17.
The meeting also approved relending the China Exim Bank loans to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) for Chashma Nuclear Power Project III and IV on similar terms available to the loans relent to provincial governments and other government departments. Chinese loans will be relent to the PAEC on actual terms and conditions available to the government of Pakistan and also the exchange rate risk will be borne by the PAEC.
The meeting also approved a request of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MPNR) for the allocation of more than 83m cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas from the Nashpa field in KP to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL).
The petroleum ministry informed the ECC about an increase in the natural gas production of 83-84mmcfd from the Nashpa field in Kohat, noting that SNGPL was keen to receive additional gas due to the demand-supply imbalance on its system.
The committee approved the deregulation of CNG prices for Sindh and KP on the pattern of Punjab through the re-enactment of an amendment of the Ogra law under which the regulator was required to notify CNG prices.
The ECC approved the re-enactment of OGRA (Amendment) Ordinance 2009 [XVI of 2009] with retrospective effect containing validation and sunset clauses from the date of the promulgation of the ordinance with a condition not to change the present system of sales tax collection.
The meeting also approved the memorandum of agreement signed on May 20 between the MPNR and the Balochistan government for the extension of the Sui gas mining lease agreement for the next 10 years. This will enable Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) to stay as the operator of the field until 2026.