TCP to tender for 100,000 tons of Urea:ECC

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) here on Tuesday decided that Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP)would tender for 1 lakh (100,000) tons of Urea from the open market on March,7 for Rabi crops in the country. The ECC met here on Tuesday with the Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.The Committee deliberated at length six agenda items which include the implementation status of the decisions taken in the last ECC meeting, presentation of the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflow and outflow, and steps to enhance FDI, Exemption of taxes on Renewable Energy Technologies, One Time Exemption from custom duty granted under SRO (812)/1/99, Update on sugar situation in the country, and Allocation of gas to Thermal Power Station Quetta.At the start of the meeting the Committee discussed at length the various aspects of the supply of Urea to farmers.This subject has been part of the agenda item that is immediate Restoration of Gas for 30 Days to Fertilizer Industry.The Committee has decided to work on both the options that are, direct tendering for Urea import of 0.225 million tons and the Chairman Trading Corporation informed the committee that they are going to tender for the supply of 1 lakh ton from the open market on March 7.At the same time the concerned Economic Affairs Division is engaged in talks with Saudi Arabian Basic Industrial Corporation for the timely supply of the Urea.In this regard a high level delegation would start for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday or Wednesday for the expeditious supply of the rest of the quantity of Urea to Pakistan, after signing the Commercial Agreement.Earlier the committee was informed by the Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Mohammad Gondal about the urgency of the requirement of the Urea for the current Rabi crop.He said that the prices are escalating in the open market due to the shortage of the same, and if the demand is not met before the sowing of the crop, it will have negative effects on the overall Rabi crop and on economy.In this regard, the committee asked the Federal Ministers for Industries and Production, Food and Agriculture, Finance Secretary, Commerce Secretary to jointly monitor the timely arrival of the consignment to Pakistani ports and onwards distribution to the farmers, and utilization of the 48,000 tons of Urea stocked with TCP for the coming crops.

The committee also approved allocation of 7-10 MMCFD gas to Quetta Thermal Power Station which was requested by the Ministry of Water and Power.The Committee also approved the request made by the Ministry of Environment in which it was prayed that for one time exemption of taxes on renewable energy technologies that the reduction of duties shall make environment friendly renewable energy technologies are affordable to general public and commercial ventures, some operational costs and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.The request also highlighted the growing environmental concerns and meet international obligations, and attract foreign investment, and have direct positive impact on the ongoing energy crisis.The Ministry of Environment proposed withdrawn of 5% custom duty, 16% sales tax, 2% commercial tax, 1% regulatory duty and 4% income tax on solar PV panels/modules LVD induction lamps.The ECC also approved one time exemption of custom duty granted under SRO 812(1)/99.The ministry of industries and production has requested to ECC of the Cabinet to issue explicit directives to the Federal Board of Revenue for allowing SBPL to sell the subject buses without surrendering the exemption from customs duty granted under SRO 812(1)/99 dated 01.7.1999, to facilitate release/ sale of the buses parked at SBPL depot since 2005.It may be recalled that Swede Bus company Limited (SBPL) had imported 32 Scania buses with Euro-II engines in 2003 for plying in Karachi under the Prime Minister’s Urban Transport Strategy Plan, 1999 under SRO 812(1)/99 dated 01-7-1999, which provided exemption from customs duty – APP