Waiving Rs seven billion Passco dues against Gilgit-Bultistan: Ministry likely to submit summary to ECC

Posted on June 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

 

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Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan wants to submit a summary to the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet for waiving Rs 7 billion as the newly-created autonomous region of Gilgit-Bultistan lacks financial resources to pay the due amount to Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation (Passco).

Well-placed sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that for the last 4-5 years, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan had been borrowing wheat from Passco to fulfill the requirements of Gilgit-Biltistan. “Now the borrowed amount has surpassed Rs 7 billion and Passco is demanding the amount,” sources disclosed.

Sources said, ” it is assumed that once the issue is raised in ECC, the ministry of Finance would have to release some of the amount, if not all to the ministry.” “The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MINFA) has directed PASSCO not to stop wheat supply to Gilgit-Bultistan. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has already sent a draft to the Ministry of Finance for release of the amount,” sources told this scribe.

Sources added, “Now the issue is of food insecurity that will increase in Pakistan after Minfa is devolved to the provinces. It is only the federal government that can give instructions to Passco not to stop wheat movement to Gilgit-Biltistan just to ensure food security. After devolution, the ministry of agriculture will become a provincial subject, the wheat surplus provinces like Punjab and Sindh could do anything for a deprived province like Gilgit-Biltistan,” they added.

The government agencies including Passco and provincial food department after passing deadline for wheat procurement drive have managed to procure only 84 per cent of the target. The government has set wheat procurement target for the year at 6.57 million tons out of which 3.5 million tons have to be purchased by the Punjab Food Department, 1.3 million tons by Sindh Food Department, 1.3 million tons by Passco, 0.4 million ton by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 70000 tons by Balochistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011

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