ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet is likely to allow import of onions and tomatoes from “any source” for a brief period to control soaring prices in the country, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The situation of availability of both commodities was discussed at a meeting in Commerce Ministry on Monday. The outcome of discussions will be placed before the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday (today), the sources added.

The price of onions and tomatoes has touched Rs 300 per kg due to shortage of supply in the market owing to recent floods.

Federal Ministry of Commerce, Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui who presided over the meeting stated that the recent torrential rains have affected the production of vegetables. The meeting took an overview of availability of commodities and their stocks in the country.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials of Ministry of National Food Security, FBR, Pakistan’s Trade and Investment Officers from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan.

Market survey: Prices of kitchen items witness upward trend

The Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers Exporters Merchants Association proposed immediate abolition of duties and taxes on the import of onions and tomatoes for three months to stabilize the market.

The sources said private sector will start deals with foreign supplies from Tuesday (today) to import onions and tomatoes from other countries.

During the onion season in Balochistan, the onion crop was destroyed by torrential rains and floods. More than 80 per cent onion crop in Sindh has been destroyed due to floods.

Minister for Finance Dr. Miftah Ismail has also supported import of onions and tomatoes from India to meet shortage of both commodities in the country.

When contacted, Secretary Commerce told Business Recorder that trade is banned with India that’s why Commerce Ministry is weighing the possibilities of quickening supplies from any source and reduction in its cost.

In reply to question, he said that Ministry of National Food Security and Research will share complete picture of losses on Tuesday (today) after which strategy will be finalised. He maintained that Federal Board of Revenue has been requested to abolish Sales Tax on onions and tomatoes.

Answering to another question, he said that the meeting did not discuss any proposal about import of onions and tomatoes from India, adding that he was not aware of comments of Finance Minister about trade of both commodities from India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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