ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has decided to enhance wheat procurement targets for Punjab and Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (PASSCO) by 01 MMT and 0.5 MMT respectively, sources close to Minister for National Food Security & Research told Business Recorder.
Sharing the details, the sources said, a consultative meeting under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was held on May 06, 2022 on wheat issues wherein comprehensive discussion was held on various segments pertaining to wheat crop.
PASSCO and Punjab Food Department explained the progress about their current wheat procurement drive. PASSCO and Punjab apprised that on April 30, 2022 wheat procurement targets of 1.20 MMT and 4.00 MMT, respectively, were met and Punjab was struggling to enhance its procurement target from 4.0 MMT to 5.00 MMT. Prime Minister directed PASSCO to procure additional quantum of 0.5 MMT of wheat. It was decided that MNFS&R should move a summary to the ECC of the Cabinet for obtaining formal approval for the procurement of additional quantity of 0.50 MMT for PASSCO and 1.00 MMT for Punjab with their Cash Credit Limits (CCL).
In compliance with the direction of the PM office, PASSCO and Punjab geared up for the new assignments of additional wheat procurement. PASSCO has submitted a letter for assigned additional target of 0.50 MMT with the CCL of Rs 28.50 billion. Punjab forwarded a copy of the letter which was sent to the Finance Division requesting for enhancing their procurement target up to the level of 4.5 MMT with the CCL of Rs. 145.50 billion.
The M/o NFS&R maintains that in wake of local wheat production shortfall (at around 10%), Russia-Ukraine war, recent pricing trend, Afghanistan situation, to build up strategic reserves and to stabilize local wheat market, it is necessary to enhance public wheat procurement targets. PASSCO may be allowed to procure an additional quantity of 0.50 MMT with the CCL of Rs28.50 billion, whereas, Punjab Food Department may be allowed to procure additional quantity of 1.00 MMT with the CCL of Rs145.50 billion.
Meanwhile M/o NFS&R has sought blanket approval for import of 3.00 MMT of wheat on need basis, depending upon the demand of PASSCO and provincial governments to build up strategic reserves and to stabilize wheat prices in the country. The M/o NFS&R has submitted the following proposals for consideration of the government: (i) import of 2.00 MMT of wheat on G2G basis;(ii) import of 1.00 MMT through international tendering process;(iii) in case of any sanctions on Russia TCP may be allowed to import the entire quantity of 3.00 MMT of wheat through international tendering;(iv) import of wheat should be made on the standard specifications notified in the Gazette of Pakistan in 2008;(v) exemptions of PPRA Rules 2004, i.e., Rule: 5,13,35,38 and 40 as was allowed by the Cabinet during the previous public wheat procurement; and (vi) exemption of Federal Duties/Taxes to the extent of 3.00 MMT of imported wheat.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022