LAHORE: The Punjab Flour Mills Association (PFMA) on Friday announced hiking rates of flour in proportion to the increase in price of wheat in the open market.

The consumers will now pay Rs120 extra for 20kg bag of flour in Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Okara, Sahiwal and other central Punjab areas. Whereas it will be Rs50 to Rs60 per 20kg increase for the consumers of the south Punjab.

On the other hand, the government says unilateral increase in flour price would not be allowed.

The PFMA complains the food department is not issuing wheat to the millers and they have to purchase it from the open market where its rate in central Punjab has gone up to Rs1,600 per 40kg; therefore, it has increased the ex-mill price for 20kg bag at Rs900 and for retail at Rs925. Because wheat price in south Punjab ranges between Rs1,525 to Rs1,550 per 40kg, the rate increase there will be Rs50 to Rs60 per 20kg bag.

PFMA leader Abdur Rauf Mukhtar says wheat prices had started increasing in the middle of Ramazan but the PFMA did not enhance the rates to cooperate with the government during the holy month.

Punjab Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan says the government would negotiate with the flour millers today (Friday) to convince them not to increase the prices and settle the wheat release issue.

He says the government would not allow unilateral increase in food prices and warned of action if anyone would try to exploit the situation.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020