ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday exempted the import of 300,000 tonnes of wheat from taxes.

The new wheat crop from Sindh will start coming into the markets by late March, followed by the Punjab crop in April.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has already approved wheat imports of additional quota in order to have sufficient buffer stocks, thereby avoiding any price hike of the commodity.

The FBR issued SRO99 of 2021 to amend the second schedule of the Income Tax Ordinance. The facility of tax exemption on import of wheat will only be allowed to the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) through a tendering process.

Pakistan imported 2.489 million tonnes of wheat at a cost of $661.148m in the first half of the previous year as against no imports in 2019. Bulk imports of wheat were made to bridge the gap in supply and demand of the staple food in the market.

In Dec 2020, the import of wheat stood at 903,707 tonnes as against no import in the same period in 2019.

The government has projected wheat production target at 26.78m tonnes during the 2020-21 Rabi season from an area of 9.16m hectares of land.

Five major steps were taken under a package including an increase in minimum support price of wheat to achieve this target, an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said.

Under the package, the government is providing a subsidy of Rs1,000 per 50 kg bag on DAP, phosphate and potassium fertilisers. The total amount allocated for this subsidy is Rs20 billion, with the federal and provincial governments sharing the subsidy in 70 per cent and 30pc ratio.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2021

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