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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has been informed that 2.829 million tons of wheat is being imported by the public and private sector to meet the shortage, and thereby, deal with the simmering challenge of staple food prices.

Sources said that the ECC meeting presided over by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was made a presentation on months-wise imports with tenders issued and opened dates as quantity imported or in the process by the private and the public sector.

The meeting was informed that 1.497 million tons of wheat was being imported by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, 180,000 tons through government to government basis, and 1.152 million tons by the private sector.

The meeting was informed that Russia has offered additional quantity of wheat through GTG, whose decision is yet to be taken as a committee has been constituted in this regard.

They added that the TCP has provided revised schedule to the meeting of the ECC, of 29 vessels carrying 1.497 million MT of wheat with four vessels arriving in October, 13 with wheat quantity of 217,125 MT, 12 vessels in December with 600,000 MT wheat, and 13 vessels in January 2021 with wheat of 680,000 MT.

The meeting was informed that wheat imported by the private sector was 432,593 MT in September, followed by 360,000 MT, in October, 180, 000 wheat would be imported in November 2020 by the private sector, followed by 120,000 MT in January 2021.

The prime minister has also sought detailed report from relevant ministries as to what measures the government has so far taken to deal with the problem of availability of flour in the market, dealing with the issue of hoarding along with wheat stock in the country and import as soaring prices was one of the major challenges for the government with rapid increase in food inflation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020