ISLAMABAD: In the midst of growing flour crisis in the country the federal government has decided to conduct a thorough probe into wheat flour shortage to ascertain and fix the responsibility on the main characters behind shortage of this essential commodity.
A three-member team led by a Deputy Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has already started work and in this regard sought details from the provinces and the federal government regarding the number of wheat sacks at their collection centres/godowns, wheat consumption and inter-provincial movement of the wheat.
The FIA team will also submit a detailed report by the end of this month regarding how it reached other provinces despite a ban on wheat inter-provincial movement.
The investigative team will compile a report on the wheat crisis and submit it to the top officials.
Earlier, provincial ministers had claimed that there was no wheat flour crisis in the province. Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan said there was no shortage of wheat across the province, adding that due to negligence of Sindh government, people of Sindh province are facing the shortage of wheat and wheat flour.
Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhary also claimed 482 sale points were established across the province for the provision of wheat flour to people.
He said that 20kg flour bag was available in market at Rs790 (Dh18.78).
The provincial minister reiterated the government’s resolve to defeat hoarders and profiteers.
A report will also be prepared on the total production of wheat, its consumption, the surplus amount, and a list of individuals who purchased the commodity from the open market.
The report carrying recommendation(s) to end the wheat crisis will also be sent to higher officials.
Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had on Monday taken a decision to allow import of 300,000 million tons of wheat to bring down its prices in the local market.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh allowed import of 0.3 million tons of wheat to decrease the local wheat price and meet the domestic requirement.
According to the decision, wheat would be imported by the private sector by withdrawing regulatory duty to the extent of the approved quantity. The ECC further decided that wheat to be imported under the ECC decision would be allowed in the country until March 31, 2020 to ensure the local wheat to be available from the start of April was picked up at the right price from the market.
The ECC also issued instructions for the immediate release of stocks held by the provincial departments.