Punjab govt approves wheat release to flour mills

Meeting held to review proposals to keep flour price in check


Rizwan Asif June 18, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: The price of wheat in Punjab’s markets has reached a record level of Rs 2,000 per maund and mill owners have started consultations on raising the flour price by Rs80 to Rs100 per 20kg bag.

The retail price of flour is likely to exceed Rs1,075 per bag in a couple of days after the decision.

On the other hand, the Punjab government, realising the seriousness of the issue, has started considering various proposals to reduce the prices of wheat and flour.

An emergency meeting chaired by the Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Sheikh instructed the food department to immediately start releasing wheat to flour mills to bring down the market prices.

In addition, Punjab has informed the federal government that it has allowed transportation of wheat and flour to other provinces, but the Sindh government has not reciprocated.

In addition, the food department’s failure to conclude wheat procurement by the government has raised fears of embezzlement at purchase centres.

The price of wheat in the open market in Lahore was Rs1,910-1,920 per 40kg, in Rawalpindi Rs1,940-1,955 and in Jhelum Rs2,000. Wheat is sent to Azad Kashmir from Dina in Jhelum.

In the open markets of south Punjab, which has the highest production of wheat in the province, the price was more than Rs1,800 per maund.

According to market sources, in the past, flour mill owners used to buy 1.5 to 1.8 million tonnes of new wheat crop, due to which the prices of flour remained stable in the till September or October.

But this time as a result of the government policy, flour mills were barred from purchasing wheat and the quantity they had bought was forcibly unloaded at government procurement centres.

As a result, about 1,000 flour mills in the province now do not have even a total of 100,000 tonnes of wheat.

Due to daily purchase of wheat, traders have started demanding exorbitant prices to take advantage of the compulsion of the and the compulsion of flour mills.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2020.

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