On top of a bumper crop output of 27.2 million tonnes, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday gave a go-ahead to start the process for import of 3m tonnes of wheat to build strategic reserves. However, the committee stopped short of increasing wheat imports to 4m tonnes.
The meeting, presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, continued to approve technical supplementary grants worth Rs56 billion even after the presentation of the federal budget to the parliament. The meeting also approved a revised policy for regulation of non-governmental and non-profit organisations (NGOs/NPOs) to receive foreign funds and allow supply of a total of 1m tonnes of wheat to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from local crop and imported quantities on a 50:50 basis.
Informed sources said the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) had requested the ECC to enhance the permission for wheat import to 4m tonnes for strategic reserves in a bid to deter hoarding and black marketing. The federal cabinet had already ratified an earlier ECC decision for the import of 3m tonnes a couple of months ago but the process could not begin.
The meeting was informed, these sources said, that the Ministry of Commerce through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) was looking at the international market for imports in July-August deliveries based on lowest price windows, in line with the Chicago forward trading.
The MNFSR wanted to increase the approved quantities to 4m tonnes for follow up intervention without waiting for lengthy approval process, perhaps in September or so, in line with a recent decision of the National Price Monitoring Committee.
As such, the ECC directed that the commerce ministry and TCP should first line up imports of 3m tonnes. The committee further directed the ministry and TCP to come back to it after two-three weeks for an additional 1m tonnes of wheat.
“The ECC approved the request of the MNFSR for import of 3m tonnes of wheat subject to approval by PPRA Board for building up the strategic reverses of wheat in the country,” an official statement said.
The ECC also approved a request by the MNFSR for the provision of 500,000 tonnes of wheat to the KP government out of the Passco stocks during the crop year 2021-22 on the usual terms and conditions.
Committee stops short of increasing wheat imports to 4m tonnes.
When we had achieved the target of wheat procurement, why we would Import more wheat??