ECC okays import of Russian wheat

Published November 1, 2022
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presides over an Economic Coordination Committee meeting on Monday. — PID
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presides over an Economic Coordination Committee meeting on Monday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday formally decided to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and approved a 63 per cent increase in commission to oil marketing companies (OMCs) on the sale of petroleum products.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Regarding the import of wheat, the Ministry of Commerce presented a summary of the procurement of wheat from Russia on G2G basis. It said the M/s Prodintorg — a state-owned enterprise of the Russian Federation had offered a supply of 300,000 tonnes of specified milling wheat at the rate of $372 per tonne for shipment to Pakistan between Nov 1 to Jan 15, 2023.

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) confirmed that the Russian wheat was in line with the specifications of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. It also reported that the bank details of M/s Prodintorg had been verified and confirmed that it was not an internationally sanctioned entity as of Oct 31, 2022.

Approves 63pc hike in petroleum dealers’ margin

The TCP also reported that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had also been signed and terms and conditions had also been mutually agreed upon for the contract to be formally signed by the TCP and Prodintorg for the supply of wheat under G2G arrangements. However, the bid validity that had expired during the processing period had also been extended to 1830 hours of Nov 1 — PST.

There has been a lot of debate on the import of wheat, oil and gas products and other commodities from Russia owing to international sanctions since the Russian attack on Ukraine early last year but the wheat import is the only subject to have reached an advanced stage of implementation.

Read: Trade with Russia

The ECC also approved a 63pc increase in the sale margins of OMC on petroleum products to Rs6 per litre from the existing rate of Rs3.68 per litre on petrol and diesel but directed that the decision would come into force on the next price review subject to fiscal space in POL prices.

The increase was committed by a government team led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a meeting with OMCs on August 2 after the same team had reached an agreement with petroleum dealers for an increase in their margins by 70pc to Rs7 per litre.

On July 28, the ECC approved an increase of 70pc in the dealer commission on the sale of high-speed diesel (HSD) to Rs7per litre from Rs4.13. Likewise, it also increased dealer commission on the sale of petrol by 43pc to Rs7 instead of Rs4.90 per litre.

This was the steepest increase in margins allowed in one go in the country. The meeting was informed that dealers’ margin on the sale of HSD and petrol was also increased by more than 25pc w.e.f December 2021 i.e. only seven months ago. Put together, the dealers’ commission has jumped by 79pc and 112pc on petrol and HSD since December 2021.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2022

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