SAHIWAL: The federal government has decided to give Sindh 400,000 tonnes of wheat from its strategic reserves so that the shortage in the province can be resolved, said Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan.
“The Sindh government has already taken 100,000 tonnes of wheat from the federal government’s reserves,” Awan said during a media talk on Sunday. “This proves that there isn’t a shortage but a problem of demand and supply persists,” she said.
As the provincial government was unsuccessful in delivering wheat, the flour mills were not able to function at their maximum capacity leading to a shortage in supply. This ultimately pushed up the prices, Awan said.
“I want to request the government to expedite the wheat supply chain so that flour prices can be reduced,” she said.
The prime minister’s aide described reasons for the shortage in Punjab as well. “There are 814 flour mills in Punjab and almost 25,390 tonnes of wheat is being provided to them on daily basis by the government,” she said.
Awan pointed that an “artificial shortage” was created in the market for profiteering purposes. “The government is developing a fast-track mechanism under which 368 sale points and 181 tracking stations will be built to stabilise prices,” she said.
Crackdowns are also being done on mills selling flour at expensive prices. “Officers in six districts of Punjab have been suspended or dismissed as they were involved in corruption,” Awan said.
She said that flour will be sold for Rs805 per kilogram throughout the province. “If anyone finds it being sold at higher prices than this they should calls at our helpline at 0800-60606.”
“People should also assess prices of other food staples that have been made cheaper for them through the prime ministers utility store package of Rs6 billion,” she said. “If the prices are high anywhere, they should immediately file a complaint.”
Awan said that it was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aim to provide food essentials to people at subsidised rates and end the mafias that are trying to pollute the market.
“Work on the Rs162 billion package in Karachi has also begun and soon the city will be on the road towards development and industrialisation,” she added. -NNI