(Sept 30, 2020)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said another wheat and flour crisis has started engulfing the country.
The government should take flour mills association in confidence to ward off the crisis which can result in widespread protests, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said a fertiliser crisis is also becoming visible which will damage the agriculture sector and trigger the food security issue in the country.
He said that national Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce not only issued a warning of nationwide flour crisis in December but it has also observed that the whole process of import of wheat was marred with mismanagement which jacked up prices of wheat and flour.
The government has allowed private sector and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import wheat but taxes and duties were not waived in time which resulted in import of only three lakh tonnes of wheat while TCP is yet to import it.
The wheat imported by the private sector is insufficient to cater to the needs of population and there is less likely that they would import the required quantity, he said.
He noted that the TCP response to the crisis has encouraged the profiteers and the prices could not be reduced in the market and it is adding to anxiety among the masses.
The concerned authorities failed to predict the situation and take timely measures which has created problems for low-income group people.
Government should start importing wheat itself if it wants to arrest the trend of rising prices in the market or risk protests, he warned.
He said that the government should take stock of urea and fertiliser availability in the country and take steps to import it without any delay.