ISLAMABAD: The wheat support price would be approved in the next meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research was informed on Thursday.
The committee which met here with its chairman Syed Muzaffar Shah in the chair, formed a sub-committee to investigate the issue of import of olive plants. It also discussed the issue of non-payment of salaries to Pakistan Central Cotton Research (PCCR) employees for the last four months.
Earlier, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Agriculture had approved a minimum of Rs3,000 per 40 kilogrammes as the wheat support price and a summary in this regard was sent to the ECC for approval. However, the Sindh government set its own price of Rs4,000.
During the meeting, Shah asked the ministry officials how they would set a uniform wheat support price. The officials replied that the federal cabinet had set up a ministerial committee to resolve the issue, adding that the ministerial committee would discuss the matter with the Sindh chief minister.
On the issue of non-payment of salaries to the PCCR employees, the food security ministry officials said non-payment of cotton cess by textile mills led to problems. They added that the institution had 350 employees and 400 pensioners and their monthly pay and pension bill was Rs25 million.
The chair pointed out that that the Supreme Court had given a ruling regarding the cotton cess in 2019. He asked why the cess was not being collected and what action was being taken against the district administrations over non-payment of the tax.
The officials informed that committee that Rs1.2 billion cotton cess was collected in four years. however, they added that there were difficulties in the collection of cotton cess due to lack of manpower. They chair said that an apologetic attitude of the Food Security ministry was unacceptable.
Senator Sarfraz Bugti raised the issue of olive plants import. He said that the Food Security Ministry had been importing olive plants from the same company for the last four years. The officials replied that the process of tender for the import of olive plants was very transparent.
They added that the plan to plant olives in the country had been very successful and because of it the International Olive Council had offered Pakistan its membership. The committee formed a sub-committee to investigate the issue of import of olive plants.