ISLAMABAD: After allowing the opening up of 50,000 tons tender, the government has stopped importing more sugar because the existing stocks with the government can meet the domestic requirements till kick-starting of the crushing season of sugarcane from November 15. It has also been decided that the import of one million tons of wheat through GtoG (government-to-government) from one of the Central Asian Republics (CARs) will not be done.
Total available stocks of wheat, including imports, stand at 7.966 million tons, which is sufficient for meeting the next eight months’ requirement. However, the government may have to import more wheat to build up two million tons as strategic reserves. On sugar, the existing available stocks stand at 0.813 million tons, which is sufficient for meeting the requirements till November 24.
It has been assessed that with existing stocks of wheat and sugar, the domestic requirements can be met till arrival of the upcoming crops. The wheat crop will arrive in April/May 2022.
“There are sufficient stocks of wheat available, so there is no need to import one million tons of GtoG wheat anymore. On sugar, it has been decided that 50,000 tons tender will be opened today for importing sugar and the next crushing season for sugarcane will be kick-started from November 15. So further import of sugar will also be stopped”, the newly-appointed spokesperson to Finance Minister, Muzammil Aslam, said while talking to The News on the telephone on Wednesday night.
However, sources said the import price of palm oil stood at $1,250 per ton and the FBR, as well as the Ministry of Industries, were directed to reduce duty and taxes but monitor that its impact should was also passed on to the consumers.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) again came under criticism because of prevailing prices in wholesale and retail trade. However, the PBS data showed that there was a differential of 30 to 40 percent that could be justified.
According to the press statement issued on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division.
The economic adviser briefed the NPMC about the decline in weekly SPI by 0.10 percent during the week under review. This is a consecutive decline in weekly SPI over the last two weeks. Prices of 10 items witnessed a decline including perishable commodities, namely tomatoes, onions, Moong and Mash pulses, while 21 items remained stable during the week. The downward trend in the weekly SPI reflects the outcome of the recent steps taken by the federal and provincial governments and the departments concerned. Moreover, the CPI is also depicting a downward trend in the first quarter of FY2021-22 at 8.58 percent as compared to 8.84 percent in the corresponding period last year.
While reviewing the prices of flour bag, the finance minister commended the provincial government of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration for daily release of wheat at the government’s specified price, which has eased pressure on the prices of flour. The finance minister took strict notice of the prices prevailing in Sindh and Balochistan and urged their respective provincial chief secretaries to initiate daily release of wheat for stabilising the prices of flour bags. At present, the price differential is clearly visible in the prices in Punjab and rest of the provinces. The NPMC stressed upon the need to ensure smooth supply of wheat at the government-notified price throughout the country.
The secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, briefed the NPMC about the sufficient availability of stock of wheat in the government sector till the arrival of the new crop. The NPMC reviewed the price trend in the global markets and it was decided that a minimum impact will be passed on to the consumers. The Finance Division further briefed the committee on the increasing price trend of food commodities in the international markets.
While taking stock of the situation, the finance minister directed the Ministry of Industries and Production and the FBR to accelerate the process for providing relief to consumers in prices of edible oil through concession in duty.
The secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, updated the NPMC about opening the tender for importing 50,000 MT of sugar today. He further apprised the committee of the progress over provision of sugar at the government-fixed price through a network of Sahulat Sasta Bazars, Utility Stores, etc. The finance minister expressed satisfaction over availability of sufficient stocks of wheat and sugar, which will help in stabilizing the prices.
Over all, the prices of tomatoes and onions witnessed a downward trend during the week.
The NPMC has directed the Ministry of Commerce to present a well-rounded proposal before the upcoming ECC meeting related to the export of onions.
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