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ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MoNFS&R) has reportedly decided to import 3 MMT wheat on G2G basis and international tendering, citing production shortfall, current Russia and Ukraine war, Afghanistan situation, higher international wheat prices, hoarding and smuggling issues and current food inflation, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said, in the meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) held on March 31, 2022 Provincial Crop Reporting Services had estimated wheat production at the level of 26.87 MMT against the assigned target of 28.89 MMT, showing a shortfall of 6.97 percent. In addition to the public carry-forward stock of 1.8 MMT, the total availability of wheat is estimated at the level of 28.67 MMT during the Food Year 2022-23 as compared to the national requirement of 30.79 MMT, leaving behind net shortfall of 2.12 MMT.

In this regard the Ministry proposed that 2 MMT of wheat be imported through G2G arrangements from Russia and 1 MMT through international tenders. However, in case of restrictions, the entire quantum of 3 MMT of wheat has been proposed to be imported through international tendering process by the TCP.

The MoNFS&R in a letter on April 13, 2022 requested the Authority to grant exemption from Rule 5 (in case of G2G), and Rule 13, 35, 38 & 40 of PPRA Rule 2004, for procurement of wheat through international tender/ or under G2G arrangements to build up strategic reserves and to cater for the provincial requirements.

Ministry proposes 3MMT of wheat import

According to Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), MoNFS&R in a letter on March 14, 2021 requested this Authority to furnish views/ comments on the summary for ECC regarding demand and supply situation of wheat and approval for import of wheat. In response, MoNFS&R was advised through letter of March 31, 2022 to forward its case to PPRA if it falls within the ambit of national interest, along with detailed justification(s). Section 21 of the PPRA Ordinance, 2002 empowers the Authority to recommend exemption cases to the Federal Government if it falls within the ambit of national interest. Such exemption from the applicability of the Rule(s) is evaluated by the Authority on case-to-case basis, and if it merits consideration, present the same to the PPRA Board for further deliberation and appropriate decision.

In response to the PPRA letter, MNFS&R has requested exemption from Rule 5 (in case of G2G), and Rule 13, 35, 38 & 40 of PPRA Rule 2004, for procurement of wheat for all public import to be made through TCP/ under G2G arrangements, and requested to place the case before PPRA Board.

The estimate of consumption has been calculated on total population of 237,280,087 which is based on PBS census of 2021 plus 1.94 growth per annum.

The estimated consumption is 28.79 MMT of which Punjab’s consumption would be 13.96 MMT, Sindh, 6.08 MMT, KP, 3.87 MMT, Balochistan,1.57 MMT, FATA, 0.63 MMT, Islamabad, 025 MMT, AJK, 055 MMT, GB, 019 MMT, IDP’s 0.16 MMT and seed and feed. In addition, 2 MMT would be required as strategic reserves, which makes total consumption of 30.79 MMT.

PPRA argues that Federal Government on the recommendations of the Authority, granted partial exemption to MoNFS&R from the applicability of rules 5, 13, 35, 38 & 40 of the Public Procurement Rules, 2004 for import of wheat on July 08, 2021. Ministry was also granted exemption from the applicability of rules in March 15, 2021. However, MNFS&R is requesting exemption repeatedly.

PPRA has recommended to its Board to advise the Ministry to improve its procurement planning in compliance with Rules 8 & 9 of the Public Procurement Rules, 2004 and improve its coordination with all stakeholders so as to avoid such requests for exemption repeatedly.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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