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ECC okays export of 250,000 tonnes of sugar



  • Govt okays to export 250,000 tonnes of sugar. 
  • Quantity includes export of 100,000 tonnes approved in last meeting. 
  • Finance minister Ishaq Dar presided over ECC meeting. 

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has greenlighted the export of 250,000 tonnes of sugar with the condition that the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) ensures that the prices of sweetener would not exceed Rs85-90/kg in the domestic market.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Ishaq Dar presided over the ECC meeting on Tuesday. Those who attended the meeting include Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema, former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Government Effectiveness Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Coordinator to PM on Commerce & Industry Rana Ihsan Afzal, federal secretaries and senior officers.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary on the export of sugar during the year 2022-23 and presented the recommendations of the 4th meeting of the Sugar Advisory Board (SAB).

The ECC after detailed discussions on the recommendation of SAB, allowed 250,000 tons of sugar for export inclusive of the previously permitted 100,000 tons by the ECC, on a first-come-first-served basis. The ECC further decided that the total quantity of export may be distributed among provinces based on their installed crushing capacity, to be determined by PSMA.

Petroleum Division tabled a summary on liquidity requirement of the PSO for import of LNG and petroleum products into the country. It was submitted that PSO has been engaged in the import of LNG into the country to meet the deficit in gas demand and supply and is obliged to clear its financial obligations of supplier within stipulated period.

In order to enable the PSO to remain current in its payment obligations to LNG suppliers as well as to maintain LNG supply chain, the ECC allowed release of Rs10 billion budgeted subsidy to Petroleum Division and allowed the government guarantee against bank financing upto Rs50 billion.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination submitted a summary regarding transfer of amount to government of Afghanistan for functioning, maintenance, equipments and salaries of three Pakistani hospitals in Afghanistan.

The ECC after discussion, approved the revised mechanisms and modalities for transfer of funds to Afghanistan, as proposed by the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) with the direction to attempt to release the amount in Pak rupees.

As per revised mechanism, the total amount already approved by the cabinet for salaries i.e. Rs1.009 billion would be transferred to Afghanistan in four tranches. These funds would be transferred through the ministry of foreign affairs and sent to Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul. The remaining three tranches would be transferred through banking channels to the embassy account opened for the purpose of disbursing salaries for doctors and other staff working in hospitals in Afghanistan constructed and operated by Pakistan.

The ECC further decided that dollar proceeds of exports will be recovered within sixty days of the LC opening. The Ministry of Industry and Production submitted a summary on the diversion of RLNG to Urea fertilizer plants upto 31st Jan, 2023. 

The ECC, after deliberation, decided to reject the proposal of Ministry of NFS&R and Ministry of I & P and decided that the RLNG supply to these plants would be discontinued with effect from midnight of 3rd January, 2023. The ECC deferred a summary submitted by the Ministry of Industries and Production tabled on price fixation of imported urea, with direction to work out and submit detailed mechanism for sharing of subsidy by provincial governments.

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Petrol, diesel prices likely to go down from April 1




  • Petrol rate likely to reduce by Rs4-5 per litre.
  • Rs15-20 per litre reduction expected in diesel price.
  • Sources hint at possibility of prices remaining unchanged.

Following a reduction in international crude oil prices, the rates of petroleum products in Pakistan are expected to decline from April 1, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to estimates of oil marketing companies (OMCs), the price of diesel is likely to decline by Rs15-20 per litre while the price of petrol is expected to go down by Rs4-5 per litre.

However, well-placed sources in the industry said that there is a possibility that the Finance Division keeps the price unchanged.

In its last fortnight bulletin, the federal government raised the price of petrol to Rs272 per litre.

The Finance Division attributed the price hike to the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and an increase in the prices registered by Platts Singapore.

The price of MS (petrol) was increased by Rs5 per litre and the price of hi-speed diesel was increased by Rs13 per litre.

The increase in the price of kerosene oil was kept at Rs2.56 by reducing the government’s dues on it. Similarly, the price of light diesel oil was kept constant by adjusting the government dues as well.

The new prices came into effect on March 16 and will remain in place till March 31.

The Finance Division will announce the news rates on March 31 which will remain in place for the next 15 days. 

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Banks to observe extended working hours




At the request of the Federal Board of Revenue, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday directed all branches of banks to observe extended banking hours in order to facilitate the taxpayers in payment of government duties/taxes.

The central bank, in a statement issued in this regard, said that the direction is for all branches of banks including the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC).

“[…] all branches of banks including National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC) shall observe extended banking hours until 04:00 P.M. and 06:00 P.M. on 30th and 31st March 2023 respectively for collection of government taxes through ADC’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) facility,” the statement read.

It mentioned that National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) shall arrange a special clearing at 6pm on March 31 (Friday) for the same-day clearing of payment instruments deposited at NBP’s authorised branches for customs collections.

“For this purpose, all banks shall arrange to keep their clearing-related branches open till such time that is necessary to facilitate the special clearing by NIFT on March 31, 2023 (Friday),” it read.

It should be noted that during Ramadan, banks observe reduced hours. Currently, the timings are:

Public dealing timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 2pm (without break)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

Office timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 3:30pm (with prayer break from 2pm to 2:30pm)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

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PM Shehbaz takes notice of gas loadshedding during sehr, iftar




  • PM Shehbaz says he has already taken notice of the matter.
  • Premier summons a meeting to discuss issue of gas loadshedding.
  • “We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” PM says.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday assured the members of the National Assembly that his government would address the issue of gas loadshedding during sehr and iftar as inflation-weary people have been registering complaints.

The prime minister, responding to a point of order raised by MNA Syed Agha Rafiullah, told the house that he had already taken notice of the matter.

PM Shehbaz shared that he had already summoned a meeting to be held later in the day, to discuss the issue of gas loadshedding.

“We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” the prime minister assured the house.

Earlier, a parliamentarian from Karachi’s Malir area drew the house’s attention to the problem of gas loadshedding being faced by the people, particularly those of Karachi, during sehr and iftar.

He said though the prime minister had already taken notice of the situation, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) needed to be directed to resolve the issue and provide uninterrupted supply during sehr and iftar.

Last week, the SSGC said gas would be supplied to domestic consumers during the holy month of Ramadan, but for limited hours — a move that irked consumers who complained of not getting enough of this essential fuel during mealtimes.

The utility had said that the gas pressure would be low from 8am to 2:30pm as it was facing a shortfall of 250 million mmbtu.

According to the SSGC helpline, for iftar, gas will be supplied to consumers in Karachi from 2:30pm to 7pm, while for sehr it will be available from 2:30am to 5am.

The gas utility added that consumers would face complete suspension or low pressure during the rest of the hours. 

However, the people have been complaining that gas remained suspended during sehr and iftar which forced them to purchase meals from hotels and restaurants which burdened their pockets.

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