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June 22, 2021

Food ministry directed to invite bids for wheat, sugar imports

 
June 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Monday directed food ministry to initiate international procurement drive of wheat and sugar through public, private and government-to-government arrangements.

Addressing a National Price Monitoring Committee’s (NPMC) meeting, Tarin directed officials to work out modalities to maintain strategic reserves of sugar and wheat to ensure smooth supply at affordable prices during the upcoming financial year.

“Government is fully cognisant of its responsibility regarding provision of essential items at affordable prices across the board. Keeping in view the fact that Pakistan is a net importer of food, the government has taken all out measures to provide essential items through a network of sahulat/saastabaazars, hefty subsidies through chain of Utility Stores outlets and is taking strict administrative measures to keep prices of basic items in check,” he said.

Finance minister asked the officials to ensure passing on the impact of downtrend in commodities’ international prices to domestic markets through administrative measures and maintaining strategic reserves of foods.

Tarin said prices in Islamabad capital territory are declining in most of the items and appreciated the efforts of the administration.

The provincial governments must also mobilise their teams in order to provide relief to common man by strict monitoring of prices, he said. Prices of palm oil and soybean were on declining trend in the international market but its impact on the domestic market had not been observed as yet, he said.

The minister directed the ministry of industries and production to hold a meeting with ghee/edible oil manufacturers to transmit the declining trend of international oil prices to local consumers.

“There is huge margin of profit being earned by the wholesalers who purchase from the farmers,” he said. “The government will take strict action if any obstacle is observed anywhere in the country.

Food ministry was directed to prepare emergency plan for establishing cold storages and warehouses in key areas where perishable food items are produced and also explore feasible options of collaboration of public private partnership model in this regard.

Provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan were directed to present the value chain analysis of essential items in the upcoming NPMC and corrective measures to ease out price hike.

The officials were directed to work out plan of establishing USC outlets across Balochistan at the spots where maximum consumers may benefit by the essential items at subsidised rates.

The meeting was told that two third of the demand pulses is fulfilled through imports thus there is need to build strategic reserves to ensure smooth supply, achieve price stability and reduce international dependence.

Weekly SPI increased by 0.28 percent for the week ended on 17th June, 2021 after a three weeks consecutive decline. Prices of 9 items declined, 21 items slightly increased and 21 items remained stable.

As per international commodities' prices comparison published by the World Bank, the international price of sugar has increased by 58.3 percent year-on-year.

Similarly, the international price of soybean oil increased to whopping 119.2 percent in year-on-year comparison whereas increased by 23.5 percent during the last month (April-May 2021).

Furthermore, the international price trend in palm oil indicated an increase of 102.6 percent year-on-year and 7.9 percent during the last month. The meeting was told that domestic price hike couldn't be avoided as Pakistan is the net importer of staple food commodities like wheat, sugar, edible oil, pulses.