ECC Allows Private Sector to Import Wheat to Control Prices
Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has given go-ahead to the private sector to import wheat to control prices of wheat and flour in the market and to ensure availability of wheat and flour at a reasonable price across the country throughout the year.
The ECC chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also decided not to restrict the import of wheat to any limit by the private sector and further decided to monitor the situation on monthly basis to ensure availability of wheat and flour in all parts of the country at a reasonable price. The ECC further decided on the following:
Provincial governments to be requested to announce their “Wheat Release Policy” immediately.
Punjab to release 900,000 tons of wheat to flour mills of the province during the next two months at a release price as proposed by the Punjab government in order to prevent a surge in the price of wheat/flour as proposed by Punjab.
The government of Sindh should also be requested to announce their policy.
PASSCO to assess the immediate requirement of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and arrange to improve supply wheat as per agreed targets.
Movement of wheat to be facilitated between Punjab and KP/Balochistan.
Overall free movement of wheat should be ensured across the border and to ensure movement across districts and provinces.
Private wheat importers may be facilitated and arrangements between importers and KP/Balochistan should also be arranged and calculate the impact of subsidy for the import if any.
Import of wheat by the private sector be allowed and the situation will be watched on a monthly basis. The financial implications of import/non-imports by the private sector should also be assessed.
If there is no import by the Private sector, then the Government should import wheat itself.
Monitoring and supply provisions are improved to ensure availability of wheat is available at shortage points and other market imperfections unconnected to supply and demand of wheat/flour should also be looked at.
Focus on inter-relation between wheat and Atta and try to increase the conversion rate from wheat to Atta.
Check the cross-border movement of Atta to ensure that Atta doesn’t flow out to Afghanistan and points of exit.
Develop a group for a longer-term strategy for the whole year and also for the medium term.