Food ministry to take ECC nod for 4mln tons wheat import

Food ministry will present a summary to import four million tons of wheat before the next meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, officials told on Monday.

The officials told the National Price Monitoring Committee’s (NPMC) meeting that the summary to import 4 million metric tons of wheat would be presented before the next ECC for requisite approval to build strategic reserves and to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.

The meeting noted that major driver behind increase in prices of items of daily use is massive international price hike due to ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The year-on-year comparative analysis indicated that price of crude oil increased by 178 percent in April 2021 compared to April 2020.

Similarly, the prices of sugar in international market increased by 57 percent in year-on-year comparison. Furthermore, international prices of palm oil, soyabeen oil and wheat also registered a continued upward trend which, in turn, led to sharp increase in prices of basic items in domestic markets.

Presiding over the meeting, Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin directed all the provincial governments to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidized rates in compliance with the directives of the prime minister.

Tarin urged the representatives of the provincial governments to ensure uninterrupted daily release without fail.

“COVID-19 crisis has fuelled food prices in international markets especially edible oil, sugar, tea and wheat,” he said. “The government is making an all-out effort to ensure smooth supply of basic items through a network of Ramadan Sahaulat / Saasta Bazaars and chain of Utility Stores Corporation outlets to ease shortages and mitigate price spike in domestic / local markets.”

The finance minister said cartelisation would not be acceptable at any cost. Stern action would be taken by the provincial administrations and departments concerned to keep the prices of basic commodities in check. All those responsible for undue profiteering or hoarding would be taken to task, he said.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) presented findings before the committee regarding completion of recent inquiry in the poultry industry. The CCP underlined some anti-competitive conduct that led to surge in prices of chicken feed, which, in turn, increased prices of chicken.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam updated the NPMC about the wheat procurement drive of the provinces and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation to ensure steady supply of wheat at fair prices during the current year. Punjab is ahead of other provinces in procurement of wheat to date, Imam said.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible oil/ghee, pulses and chicken during the last week. While briefing the NPMC about weekly sensitive price indicator, the finance secretary apprised prices of seven basic commodities registered a decline whereas 26 items remained stable during the week under review.


The News International

Tags: , , ,

Got additional questions?
We will be happy to assist!