government has lifted the ban on inter-provincial movement of wheat, now Sindh,
NWFP and Balochistan governments and flour millers are able to procure wheat
directly from the open market in Punjab. The decision highly lauded by the
provinces because flour mills of these provinces and consumers have been facing
many problems due to ban on free movement. Chief Executive Pakistan has already
given approval to lift all sorts of
ban on free inter-provincial movement of wheat and its product.
It was long
standing demand of provinces to allow them to purchase wheat from Punjab
directly because it was the main cause of price hike and price discrepancies
among the provinces despite surplus production of wheat. Flour mills of these
provinces were also insecure about their future, Sindh has been facing two
folded problems at one hand it has its quota suspended since April and on the
other hand inter-provincial ban on wheat movement compelled them to purchase
wheat from open market at higher rates to meet the demand.
Talking to PAGE,
Malik Nazir Ahmed, Chairman Pakistan Flour Mills Association (Sindh Circle)
said, government has taken rational decision because it has been the main
detriment to provide the flour to the consumers at cheaper rates and to
prevail same prices of flour among the provinces. Now we don't need to
purchase wheat from open market at higher rate and we are in a position to
smoothly provide quality flour at reasonable prices by freely purchasing from
criticized the decision by the Punjab government to take a totally
unilateral decision keeping prior their own interests to allow Punjab flour
mills to supply flour to other provinces as ban on inter-provincial free
movement of wheat in the provinces was still there. The flour mills of Sindh,
Balochistan and NWFP were facing severe crises due to the barrier. He
specifically pointed out the fact that Karachi is being paid high prices as
compared to other cities now they will have a sigh of relief because this
decision raises hopes to cut down the prices of wheat and its products for final
75 per cent
of the wheat of the country is produced in Punjab, so lifting the ban on free
flow of flour in the provinces will reduce the burden of other provinces. If
flour mills of Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan not allowed to purchase wheat from
Punjab growers directly to process into flour then the price discrepancies would
remain among the provinces. At one
hand it will adversely affect the flour mills' business and on the other hand
price hike will be going on in provinces of wheat deficient specially in
appreciated the decision by Sindh Government to restore the
suspended quota but he also demanded to increase the quota for Sindh and
Karachi because presently Sindh Government is supplying 50,000 tonnes which is
not enough to meet the demand. Recently the open market price of wheat in
Karachi is Rs 925 per 100 Kg which was about
Rs 725 per 100 Kg previously. Now
prices of wheat will also bring down in open market due to the decision.
the justification to increase the wheat quota for Karachi, he said, currently
Sindh government has 18,00000 tonnes wheat in its stock out of which 200,000
for emergency use, Sindh and Karachi need 80000 and 120000 tonnes
respectively for its flour mills. Sindh government can easily provide
200000 tonnes to Sindh in coming eight months till new crops in the
market, so their reluctance seems senseless
to increase the quota for Karachi despite having capacity.
Agricultural Minister Dr Shafqat Ali Shah Jamote said that the decision was
taken after developing a consensus among the wheat surplus and wheat deficient
provinces. Regarding the smuggling, minister denied the possibility of wheat
shortage as adequate arrangements were made to stop smuggling to Afghanistan. As
govenment is already supplying wheat to Afghanistan on government to government
basis, 1 million tonnes of wheat sold to Afghanistan.
The three provinces has been allocated 2.5 million tonnes of wheat from
Punjab that would end burden of storage in Punjab.
Wheat must be
a subject of free movement like other agricultural products in Pakistan. Lifting
ban will definitely help to reduce the problems of wheat deficient provinces and
to maintain same price of wheat in all provinces.
Besides this extended quota should be allowed to Karachi in order to
cater the need of the largest populated city of the country.
It is a prior right of the consumers in Pakistan to enjoy the surplus
wheat status of Pakistan.