ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has allowed Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import 340,000 metric tons of wheat with a decision that the imported wheat would be provided to Passco, Punjab and KPK to ease the supply pressures.

The meeting presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh through a video conference from Lahore, considered the summary moved by Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

An official on condition of anonymity said the TCP would import a total of 1.47 million tons of wheat and so far in the ongoing month it had imported 110,000 metric tons.

On Wednesday, speaking at a news conference, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam said that the country’s wheat production was affected due to climate change consequently there was 0.8 million to one million tons of wheat production loss.

The minister also acknowledged discrepancy between provisional and final figures of wheat stock and production provided to the federal government by the provinces as participants in a recent ECC meetings have raised serious questions over the veracity of the data of wheat stock in the country provided by the Ministry of Food.

On Thursday, an urgently convened ECC meeting considered a proposal of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, moved a summary on status of wheat import by the government through Trading Corporation of Pakistan, and it was informed that the fifth tender for wheat import was issued on October 9, 2020, and received bids were opened on October 14, 2020.

According to the TCP, six (06) parties participated in the bidding process.

The MNFS&R requested the ECC for the approval of the lowest bid offer by M/s GTCS for wheat import of 340,000 metric tons, and the permission to distribute the imported quantities equally among three (3) recipients - Passco, Punjab and KP.

They also requested for approval, in principle, of procurement of additional quantity from Russia by TCP.

The ECC also granted approval in principle for the import of wheat from Russia by TCP, for which a detailed summary regarding the fresh offer from the Russian Federation along with quantities will be presented before ECC for approval.

The ECC informed that so far, the ministry has 0.57 million tons of imported wheat and TCP provided a schedule of 29 vessels that will arrive by January 2021, bringing it to 1.5 million metric tons of wheat in the country.

The ministry assured the forum that they have been making their best efforts to overcome any future shortage of wheat in the country.

Those who attended the meeting included Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, and Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro.