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May 30, 2020

Flour price shoots up by Rs 100-120 per 20kg bag

Top Story

May 30, 2020

LAHORE: The flour price has shot up by Rs 100 to Rs 120 per 20kg bag or Rs 5-6 per kg in the provincial metropolis and central Punjab.

The Pakistan Flour Mills Association said on Friday the price hike has been announced in the light of the formula and grinding charges fixed by the Punjab Food Department and in proportion to the increase in wheat price in different districts and divisions. As per pricing formula, the price of 20kg bag has been increased by Rs 120 in different cities of central Punjab including Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Okara, Faisalabad and Sahi wal.

Atta Chakki owners also announced increasing flour price by Rs 2-3 per kg following the increase in wheat rates. The new price of flour will be Rs 64-65 per kg.

The PFMA members unilaterally announced to increase the price of flour on Friday despite a minister’s assertion that new rates of flour would be decided today (Saturday) after holding talks with senior officials of the Food Department.

However, rejecting the statement of flour mills regarding flour prices, Abdul Aleem Khan, provincial Food minister, said the price of flour was calculated on the basis of wheat rate. He made it clear that the prices of flour will be the same as those fixed in consultation with the Food Department and the administration. Punjab has an abundance of wheat and uninterrupted supply of flour and wheat to the market is the top priority of the government, he observed.

According to flour millers, the price of a 20kg bag has been increased up to Rs 50 to Rs 60 in different cities of South Punjab where the wheat price is relatively lower. The price of wheat in the open market is already on the rise and it is not possible for the flour mills to sell flour at the old prices, they said.

Under the formula, the Punjab Food Department has fixed the grinding charges at Rs 100 per 20kg bag of flour. In the light of this fixed formula, the price of wheat in central Punjab has been Rs 1600 per 40kg so the ex-mill price stands at Rs 900 per 20kg bag and the retail price will be Rs 925.

On the other hand, the Punjab Food Department has decided to wind up wheat procurement campaign in the province. In a high-level meeting of the Food Department, Aleem Khan was informed that the record of procurement of wheat in Punjab at the official level has been set for the last 10 years. The procurement limit of wheat has been exceeded after which the province has a total stock of 4.3 million metric tons of wheat, which will be abundant to meet the needs of the province. Expressing satisfaction over this important achievement, Aleem Khan directed Food Department officials to immediately provide assistance to flour mills and seed companies in procurement of wheat so that wheat in this sector could also be made sufficient. Similarly, an integrated strategy should be formulated for the supply of wheat to the province of KP in which the Food Departments and the chief secretaries of both the provinces should be taken on board so that there is no confusion. Aleem also directed the food secretary to hold a meeting with the Punjab Flour Mills Association today after which the district administration in consultation with the Food Department and flour mills would determine the price of flour in each division. He said that all borders of Punjab should be sealed to curb smuggling that could bring down the price of wheat. He termed the performance of the Food Department, the district administration and agencies concerned in the procurement of wheat satisfactory and directed the food secretary to send a summary to the chief minister Punjab to stop further procurement of wheat. It is a good thing that 90 per cent target of procurement of wheat by the Punjab Seed Corporation has been achieved.

He said this year has been historic in procurement of wheat and it is expected that the department will continue to show the same sense of duty in the future. He directed to prepare recommendations for a new policy for approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan under which wheat procurement would be changed next year and wheat would be kept only for government reserves.

Briefing the meeting, the secretary food and the director food informed Aleem Khan that new instructions are being issued to all officers of the Food Department immediately and now flour mills and seed companies in every district will be given support in the procurement of wheat. It was decided in the meeting that the future course of action would be decided in consultation with the chief secretary Punjab today and the issues regarding the supply of wheat to KP would be finalized.