Pakistan: Wheat import caused $1 bln loss to national kitty

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It has been revealed that private sectors have been favored in wheat imports in Pakistan, and these wrong decisions have resulted in a loss of $1 billion to the national exchequer.

According to sources, despite the abundance of wheat, the National Food Security had requested permission for the import of 3,587,000 tons of wheat, and the ECC had given formal approval for wheat imports by the private sector.

Sources say that the National Food Security had initially prepared a summary for importing 1 million tons of wheat.

However, by April 1, 2024, the government had 4.3 million tons of wheat, and with the arrival of the new crop in Sindh in March, there was no need for wheat imports.

According to sources, a meeting of the cabinet committee on wheat procurement will be held again today. After the meeting, talks will be held with farmers to address their concerns, the sources added.

On the other hand, farmer leader Sultan Javid said that the deadline for the decision is tomorrow, and an announcement about the future course of action will also be announced tomorrow, sources said.

He welcomed Prime Minister Shahbaz's decision to increase the target of wheat procurement. “We hope the Punjab government will also make a similar announcement soon,” Sultan Javid added.

Yesterday, taking strict action on the complaints of farmers, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif directed the federal government to immediately purchase wheat from farmers.

PM Shahbaz also increased the target of wheat procurement from 1.4 million metric tons to 1.8 million metric tons, the statement released by PM Office said.

Prime Minister’s decision is expected to benefit thousands of farmers across the country and provide them with a stable income, the statement added.

The prime minister’s decision was welcomed by the farming community, who have been facing difficulties due to delayed wheat procurement in recent years, it added.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan imported one billion US dollars’ wheat in first nine months of the current financial year, citing PBS sources.

The country imported 3.4 million tones of wheat from July to March during the ongoing fiscal year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) sources said.

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