By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Muhammad Ahmed Waheed has demanded of the government to allow the private sector to import wheat in order to avert any flour crisis that could arise in the country. He said that Punjab government had set a target of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat procurement, however, so far it has procured only 4.1 million tonnes of wheat against the target of 4.5 million tonnes.
He said that every year, flour mills were procuring wheat from middlemen for their own use, but this year, under the guise of Hoarding Ordinance, the administration of each district was conducting raids to confiscate wheat purchased by flour mills from the middlemen for their own use.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed further said that flour mills were purchasing wheat from middlemen @ Rs.1700 per 40 Kg, but government was forcefully purchasing from them @ Rs.1400 per 40 Kg. He said that flour mills were not allowed to keep sufficient stock as only one day’s stock was allowed to them despite the fact that each flour mill was given permit of 100-ton wheat. He said this policy of government was likely to create flour crisis in the country.
He appealed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and Federal Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhr Imam to allow the private sector to import wheat as there was a shortage of about 2 million tonnes of wheat this year. ICCI President said that after the coming out of FIA inquiry report, the bureaucracy was also in a state of panic and no officer was ready to take any risk.