ECC raises sugar supply to Utility Stores Corp.

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has allowed sale of sugar through utility stores at Rs38 per kg.

At a meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday, the ECC decided to augment supply to the Utility Stores Corporation from imported sugar and stocks held by the Trading Corporation in view of its shortage across the country.

The allocated quota of sugar for the USC was inadequate to meet the demand. While the government had fixed a price of Rs40, sugar was being sold in the market at Rs60 to Rs70 per kg.

Under a formula prepared by the committee, Balochistan, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan will get 4,000 tons of imported sugar in addition to the existing supply of 1,354 tons, enhancing the total supply to 5,354 tons.

The USC in the NWFP will get 13,000 tons from TCP stocks in addition to the existing supply of 7,024 tons, raising the total supply to 20,024 tons.

In Sindh, the USC will receive 10,000 tons of imported sugar to increase the supply from 4,241 tons to 14,241 tons.

Punjab will get 27,000 tons of imported and 2,000 tons of locally-produced sugar to increase the supply from 678 tons to 29,678 tons.

An official statement said the additional supply will be sold loose and in packets through the country-wide network of 5,700 USC outlets over the next month on a first come, first served basis with a restriction of 2kgs per person.

The committee decided that the difference in the sale price at the USC and the supply price of the TCP and incidental and handling charges would be borne by the federal government.

It asked the industries ministry to urge the Punjab and Sindh governments to ensure availability of sugar in markets. While discussing the natural gas load management programme for winter, the ECC decided to divert gas from the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) system.

It decided that the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) would divert an additional 50MMcfd from the Sawan field to the SNGPL during the season. The supply to the KESC will drop from 190 to 140 MMcfd.

The KESC will get fuel from the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to make up for the reduction in gas supply.

The ECC formed a committee for reviving the Risalpur Export Processing Zone.

Another committee headed by the finance secretary was set up to settle the issue of electricity dues of the federal and provincial governments.

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company has issued final notices to a large number of ministries and government institutions, including the presidency, to clear the dues.

The ministry of water and power briefed the ECC on steps taken by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to regulate the KESC.

During a briefing on the economic situation, the committee was informed that the monthly core inflation had decreased from 11.9 per cent in September to 11 per cent in October.

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