ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) at its meeting in Islamabad on Monday approved import of 300,000 tons of wheat.
The meeting was chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.
The Economic Coordination Committee was informed that the first shipment of wheat was likely to arrive in the country by Feb 15.
The committee asked Punjab and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) to release their stocks to overcome wheat shortage in the country. The meeting was informed that Punjab and PASSCO have wheat stocks of 4.1 million tons.
The ECC also approved Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) waiver of four hundred rupees per bag to ensure supply of cheap fertilizers to the farmers.
The government has announced to launch a crackdown on those creating artificial wheat shortage in the country.
Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar said sufficient wheat stocks were available in the country to fulfill domestic requirements of flour.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, he expressed firm resolve to take strict action against those involved in hoarding, profiteering or creating artificial crisis of the commodity in domestic markets.
The minister said current scenario of wheat and flour emerged due to multiple reasons, including transporters’ strike in Karachi which effected supply in local markets of Sindh and ban on movement of wheat between Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to curb its smuggling.
He said both the causes had been dually addressed and supply of grains was restored, which had bridged the demand and supply gap.
“The situation would be smooth in the local markets and wheat prices would also come down in a couple of days,” he said.
Khusro Bakhtiar said a special helpline had been established to monitor the wheat supply in local markets.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar on Monday visited Jaranwala where he conducted raids at the various sale points of flour in the city.