Body formed to negotiate wheat price
ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has formed a three-member committee consisting of Secretary Finance, Secretary Commerce, and Secretary National Food Security to negotiate the price of wheat with the Russian government for further procurement of wheat as Food Ministry wants to import an additional 750,000 tons of wheat from Russia.
Sources said that during the meeting of the ECC, presided over by the Adviser on Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the members raised serious questions over the decision-making process in the Food Ministry, veracity of the available wheat stock data, and the price at which the wheat was being imported.
On the issue of wheat, the ECC constituted a three-member committee consisting of Secretary Finance, Secretary Commerce, and Secretary National Food Security (as the chairman of the committee) to negotiate the price of wheat with the Russian Federation for further procurement of wheat.
The meeting also directed that 330,000 MT of wheat, when imported by the TCP, would be distributed equally among the PASSCO, the Punjab, and the KP (110,000 MT each).
Sources said that the Food Ministry wanted to import an additional 750,000 tons of wheat from Russia, and a proposal was also brought to the meeting.
They added that during the discussion on the issue of wheat, Secretary Food Ministry Omer Hameed faced hard questions with respect to price at which the wheat was being imported, and was quoted as saying that by booking order at $279, the market price had been set, and also wanted to know at what price imported wheat would be available to the people.
Officials of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) maintained that there was pressure on them after the previous tender of wheat import was quashed, and the members were perturbed.
Sources said that the Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar informed the meeting that price of 20kg bag had gone over Rs1,200, and people were facing a difficult situation.
Sources further stated that some members said if the data of the Food Ministry was accurate then why people were facing a difficult situation, and there was persistent increase in the prices of wheat flour.
The ECC allowed the SNGPL for the recovery of previous revenue shortfall of Rs69 billion for the last two years for blending of imported RLNG in domestic gas to enable SNGPL to manage the load of the domestic/commercial sectors by diversion of RLNG in the approaching winter. The meeting was told that if the amount was not recovered it would increase to over Rs100 billion in winter.
The ECC allowed allocation of 8 MMCFD gas from Mangrio discovery and 4 MMCFD of gas from Mithri gas discovery for M/s SSGCL.
The ECC also allowed the OGRA to issue new CNG licenses to RLNG-based CNG stations with the provision that the licenses would neither receive indigenous gas or can claim for its conversion to indigenous gas. The ban on the issuance of new licenses was imposed since 2008.