Pakistan restores sugar, cotton import from India, announces cut in petroleum prices

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ISLAMABAD – Hammad Azhar, the newly-appointed minister of finance, has announced to restore import of sugar and cotton from neighbouring India, besides announcing decrease in petroleum prices to provide relief to public.

Addressing his maiden press conference as finance minister, he said that 0.5million tonnes of sugar will be imported from India.

“Sugar is cheaper in our neighbouring country India. Therefore we have decided to resume sugar trade with India,” Azhar said, besides vosing to take measures to control sugar prices in the country.

The finance minister said the demand for cotton was increasing in the Pakistan due to boost in production. He said Pakistan had green lighted the import of cotton from other countries last year after it could not produced quality cotton.

Saying a ban on Indian cotton had direct effect on country’s SMEs, Azhar said that the cotton trade with India will also be resumed in the light of recommendations made by the Ministry of Commerce.

On Wednesday, Economic Coordination Council allowed the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of white sugar from India.

The decision has revived the trade with India nearly after two years it was suspended between the two nuclear neighbours.

The government has also decided to decrease petrol price by Rs1.5 per litre and diesel price by Rs3/ litre for first half of the next month.

Azhar said that the wheat support price has been fixed at Rs1,800 per 40kg.

Saying the incumbent government has empowered the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Hammad Azhar added: “We are not pumping dollars into the economy as it is surviving on its own”.

He termed the release of 500mn tranche from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) an healthy addition the reserves of Pakistan.