ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of rising wheat flour prices, the federal government on Wednesday renewed its demand that provincial governments of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa begin daily release of wheat for stabilising its prices.
The PTI-led federal government has been critical of the provincial governments for their failure to arrest rising trends in wheat flour prices. The federal government’s order has only been implemented in the province of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
The reservation on price differential was noted in the weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) chaired by Federal Minister for National Food Security Fakhar Imam at the Finance Division.
In the absence of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who is leading a delegation to Washington for policy level talks with the International Monetary Fund, Mr Fakhar chaired the NPMC meeting.
While taking stock of the situation, the NPMC observed that price of 20 kg bag of wheat flour was Rs1,100 in Punjab and ICT due to daily release of wheat at government specified price.
However, the prices of wheat flour bag in Karachi (Sindh), Quetta (Balochistan) and Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) were in the range between Rs1,300-Rs1,460 per 40 bag. Punjab is releasing wheat to flour mills at Rs1,950 per 40 kg as well as in Islamabad.
The NPMC took strict notice of the price differential and urged the provincial governments of Sindh, KP and Balochistan to initiate daily releases on top priority. The secretary food Sindh informed NPMC that government of Sindh will start daily release of wheat at the government notified price from October 16.
The NPMC commended the provincial government of Punjab and ICT administration for daily release of wheat which has stabilised the prices of wheat flour bag. Mr Fakhar stressed the need to start the daily release of wheat at the government notified price to ease pressure on prices of wheat flour throughout the country.
Secretary Ministry of Food Security Ghufran Memon briefed the NPMC about sufficient availability of stock of wheat with the provinces and Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation.
Secretary Ministry of Industries Jawwad Rafique Malik briefed the NPMC about start of voluntary crushing of the sugarcane in some districts of Sindh by October 25. He also updated the committee about the priority of the government to begin sugarcane crushing by first week of November in Punjab province.
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021