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KARACHI: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum President Mian Zahid Hussain has said that though the government has allowed the private sector and the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import wheat, yet taxes and duties were not waived on time which resulted in the import of only 300,000 tons of wheat.

He expressed the fear that another wheat and flour crisis had started engulfing the country.

The government should take flour mills' association into confidence to ward off the crisis which could result in widespread protests, he said.

He said a fertilizer crisis was also becoming visible which would damage the agriculture sector and trigger a food security issue in the country.

He said that the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Commerce not only issued a warning of a nationwide flour crisis in December, but it had also observed that the whole process of import of wheat was marred by mismanagement which jacked up prices of wheat and flour.

The quantity of wheat imported by the private sector was insufficient to cater to the needs of the population, he said.

He alleged that the TCP's response to the crisis had encouraged profiteers.

The authorities concerned failed to predict the situation and take timely measures.

The government should start importing wheat itself if it wanted to arrest the trend of rising prices in the market, he said.

He said that the government should also take stock of the availability of urea and fertilizer in the country and take steps for importing them without any delay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020