Govt to import wheat to meet flour crises.


KARACHI -- The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Monday approved the import of 0.3 million tonnes of wheat without regulatory duty amid an unprecedented price hike and country-wide shortage during the past few days, as criticism continued to mount on the federal government. Chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the committee has allowed for wheat to be imported till March 31, with the first shipment due to arrive by February 15. It has also asked the Punjab government and the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) to release wheat stocks in order to overcome a country-wide shortage.

A statement issued by the Finance Ministry said that Punjab and PASSCO have approximately 41 tonnes of wheat stocks available. It is not yet clear from which country or countries Pakistan will be importing the wheat. During the meeting, the government also approved the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) waiver of Rs400 per bag on urea to ensure the supply of cheap fertiliser to farmers. Meanwhile, the Sindh government, which did not procure wheat from its growers in 2019, has decided to purchase 0.4 million tonnes of wheat from PASSCO to overcome the wheat crisis in the province. The Sindh government did not procure wheat from the growers in the province citing financial crisis and availability of carry-over wheat last year. According to sources, the provincial food department has more than...

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