LAHORE: The Punjab chapter of the Pakistan Flour Millers Association (PFMA) has announced an increase in the wheat flour price, while a delegation of the body will meet provincial food authorities here on Wednesday (today) for issuance of a notification of the hike.

PFMA’s Punjab Chairman Tahir Hanif Malik, justifying the hike, argued in a statement on Tuesday that the rapid increase in petroleum products’ prices and power tariff had pushed the wheat grinding charges up, while transportation of grain and flour, as well as packing material, were also becoming costlier day by day.

He calculates this cumulative additional cost as Rs50 per 20kg flour bag.

He says as the grinding charges had been fixed last time in April 2021, no increase in its rates has been made since then.

He says the millers have decided to pass on this additional burden onto the consumers, demanding the food authorities to accept this increase and notify new prices of flour bags accordingly to save the industry from losses.

Calculate Rs50 hike per 20kg bag

Or else, he says, the government should subsidise the wheat being provided to flour mills if it wishes to maintain the present flour prices in the open market.

Otherwise, Mr Malik says, the executive committee of the PFMA will meet next week to decide the line of action.

A PFMA delegation is, however, meeting Punjab Food Director Dr Omar Jahangir on Wednesday (today) to justify their decision.

Confirming the meeting, Dr Jahangir tells Dawn that he will try to understand the millers’ logic behind the demand.

“If the logic makes sense, I’ll surely take it up with the provincial government. I’ll brief the cabinet committee, the first forum for taking a decision on the price, and seek its guidance on the issue,” he says responding to a query.

The director argues that grinding charges are calculated on the basis of multiple factors, which include all the inputs like wheat price, electricity tariff and other running expenses, as well as the profit the millers get from the wheat by-products like fine flour (maida) and bran.

“It’s a formula in which everything is in equilibrium,” he believes.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2022

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