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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) to resolve the issue of sale of damaged wheat of Passco (Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation), in consultation with the Finance Division, official sources told Business Recorder.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research recently briefed the ECC about the issue saying Board of Directors (BoD) of Passco in its 145th meeting held on March 10, 2023 considered allowing the Management to dispose-off fully damaged wheat in the first phase (unfit for human consumption, as confirmed through Lab tests), other than to flour mills/grain dealers.

The sale/auction be done in phases as per recommendations of the committee constituted by the MNFS&R, in a highly transparent matter through a committee of General Managers of PASSCO, who will monitor and supervise the entire process. The sorting of partially damaged wheat be completed at the earliest and process of its sale/auction be taken up on top priority.

Passco to auction off 44,784MTs of damaged wheat

Insiders claim that Passco intends to auction over 44,784 MT of damaged wheat at a total amount of Rs 3.285 billion and seek differential of Rs 37.476 million in budget of FY 2023-24.

The source said approval of the Cabinet may be obtained prior to sale/auction of the damaged stocks. Loss (if any) on account of sale of fully damaged wheat in Phase-l shall be placed before the Board separately for consultation. The Board further reiterated its previous decision that when business is carried out on the specific orders of the Federal government, then the losses (if any) will have to be borne by the federal government.

MNFS&R recommended that the proposal of Passco regarding disposal of damaged wheat during the floods 2022, through public auction may be approved, so that wheat quality and quantity may not further deteriorate. Loss on account of sale of damaged wheat shall first be worked out precisely by the Passco management and then the same shall be placed before the Passco Board for appropriate recommendations and finally before this forum for taking up of losses by the federal government.

The ECC held discussion on the matter threadbare. It was observed that the MNFS&R had asked for blanket approval for sale of damaged wheat of Passco as no quantity and financial implication of the damaged wheat had been indicated in the summary. It was also observed that Passco was a private commercial entity, therefore, its Board should take appropriate decision on the above matter rather than bringing the same before the ECC.

After detailed discussion, the ECC deferred its decision on the summary of MNFS&R with the direction that the ministry shall resolve the issue of sale of damaged wheat in consultation with the Finance Division.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 16, 2023 09:27am
Firstly, why is these so much damaged wheat on one hand, and stampede for wheat on another? Secondly, most Pakistanis do in fact consume food unfit for human consumption such as processed human excrement and sugarcane waste. Is this wheat really less fit for consumption?
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