Flour price soars to Rs70/kg

PM orders immediate measures to tackle the situation


​ Our Correspondent January 18, 2020
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:  

The price of flour has gone up by up Rs6 per kg across the country with the commodity being sold at Rs70 per kg in Lahore, Karachi and other cities.

Prime Minster Imran Khan, who was seeking proposals to reduce the rates of edible items and other essential commodities during a meeting held just a day earlier, has taken notice of the sudden spike in flour price and ordered the authorities concerned to take urgent remedial measures.

This is the second time that the price of flour has increased in the past two weeks. The price of the commodity price has jacked up by Rs20 during the tenure of the PTI government.

The Flour Mills Association has notified the increase in price complaining that mill owners had not received any subsidy from the government.

“The price was increased after a surge in wheat price,” a statement issued by the association read. “The situation has turned worse because of the government’s [new] electricity and gas tariff.”

The premier has assigned the task of bringing the flour price down to Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar and senior PTI leader Jahangir Tareen. He has also discussed the matter with the chief minsters of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The government is planning to releasing 0.1 million tons of wheat to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco).

It will also import 0.3 million tons wheat this year.

Earlier this week, flour mills had increased prices allegedly because of the suspension of wheat supply from government warehouses.

Sources affiliated with the Flour Mills Association said wheat purchased from Punjab, to meet the shortfall in Sindh, had not reached the province yet. As a result, around 70% of the mills in the province were relying on procuring wheat from the open market to continue operations.

The sources further said the production capacity of the flour mills in Sindh had reduced by 50% because of the suspension of the supply of wheat from government warehouses.

In an attempt to overcome the flour crisis, the Punjab government had banned flour supplies to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.

In Balochistan where the price of the commodity has skyrocketed as well, the mill owners accused the provincial food department of creating a wheat crisis.

In a statement, Pakistan Flour Mills Association regional President Saleh Agha maintained that wheat was being smuggled form Punjab and Sindh causing an artificial crisis in Balochistan.

Agha said the poor people of the province were compelled to buy expensive flour as they had no other option.

He claimed that he had warned the federal and provincial governments of the wheat crisis in the province. However, he added, they had not paid attention to the issue.

 

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