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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have reportedly failed to reach any agreement for import of wheat from the latter on government to government (G2G) basis due to harsh conditions, well informed sources in Commerce Ministry told Business Recorder.

This was revealed at a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held on October 28, 2022 under the chairmanship of Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar.

“Efforts had been underway for engaging with the Russian side for import of wheat. Both MoC and TCP held negotiations with the Russian government for import of wheat on G2G basis, however there was no fruitful outcome,” the sources stated. Ministry of National Food Security and Research reportedly noted that the ECC of the Cabinet on May 09, 2022 had allowed Trading Corporation of Pakistan

(TCP) to import 3 MMT of wheat, with further directions to devise import modalities. The ministry further noted that the modalities were devised and were also approved by the ECC on May 28, 2022. As a consequence, the TCP was allowed to import 1.00 MMT of specified milling wheat through international tendering process and 2.00 MMT through G2G arrangements and PASSCO was declared as recipient agency. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research updated the ECC that in compliance with the above decision, the TCP has so far arranged to import 0.950 MMT of wheat through international tendering process. It was added that the entire quantity had arrived in the first week of October, 2022.

TCP said to buy 385,000 tonnes of wheat in tender

The ministry stated that in compliance with the directions of the PM office and decision of the federal Cabinet on July 15, 2022, a committee of the Cabinet was constituted, comprising minister for National Food Security & Research, minister for Finance and Revenue and minister for Commerce, SAPM to Kashmir and GB and SAPM to Establishment to re-verify public stocks and to re-ascertain the actual wheat requirement of the country.

The sources said, public wheat stocks were re-verified and it was reported that actual shortfall was estimated at 2.50 MMT, instead of 3.00 MMT. It was in this context that the ECC in its meeting held on August 30, 2O22, revised its earlier decision on the subject on May 09, 2022 and allowed net import of 2.50 MMT.

The remaining import of 1.60 MMT was distributed equally between the public and private sectors i.e., 0.80 MMT for each sector. However, the federal Cabinet on September 05, 2022 did not approve import through private sector and allowed only TCP to import 0.80 MMT through open tendering as well as through G2G arrangements.

The meeting was apprised that PASSCO’s wheat stocks were at the level of 3.479 MMT (as on October 24, 2022) against the existing commitments of 2.6O7 MMT.

It was pointed out that if additional demands of provinces were met from PASSCO stock, PASSCO would be left with a shortfall of negative 0.167 MMT at the end of the food year i.e. April 30, 2023. However, this shortfall would be met from the import of 1.60 MMT wheat. On arrival of this quantity, PASSCO’s closing stock at end of food year would be 1.433 MMT against the approved strategic reserves of 2.0 MMT.

Ministry of Industries and Production proposed that the TCP may be allowed to arrange import of the remaining quantity of 0.80 MMT through open tendering or through G2G arrangements, before harvesting of the new crop.

After detailed discussion on permission for the remaining import of 0.80 MMT of wheat through the TCP, the ECC approved the proposal with direction to Ministry of National Food Security and Research to submit logistic plan for transportation of imported wheat within fifteen days to the ECC for consideration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Syed Israr Ali Nov 02, 2022 04:35pm
What were the harsh conditions due to which agreement between Russia and Pakistan for import of wheat could not be concluded, have not been included in this report. Unless those conditions are made public and known, no assessment could be made
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