Govt sets wheat grinding ratio to reduce flour price


ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday decided to set the grinding ratio of wheat by 80:20, to be ensured by the provincial governments in order to increase the production and bring down the price of flour.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The prime minister tasked the finance minister to review the existing business model of procurement of wheat and suggest ways to cut down administrative costs being incurred during the procurement, transmission and storage process of wheat.

The meeting was attended among others by federal and provincial ministers and relevant federal and provincial secretaries. The provincial chief secretaries also attended the meeting via video link.

The prime minister was informed by provincial minister that as per his directions, the Punjab government was releasing wheat to flour mills since 7th July 2020. H informed that so far 3.6 MT wheat has been released with a provision of Rs 50 billion as subsidy.

The meeting was informed that Punjab was incurring a cost of Rs510 per 40kg of wheat in lieu of various administrative charges including procurement, transmission and storage. This additional burden was being absorbed by the provincial government and was not being passed on to the consumers.

The prime minister directed Finance Minister to review the existing system of procurement and to suggest an efficient business model for the purpose of cutting down additional expenses being incurred by the food department.

Chief Secretary Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa briefed the prime minister about the existing regulatory mechanisms of the provinces for the establishment of fruit and vegetable markets.

Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that after the directives of the Prime Minister, 65 Kissan (farmers) Markets have been established in the province.  Thirteen markets have been set-up at tehsil level where the licenses were auctioned while 23 markets have been established at raw sites.

The prime minister has briefed about the existing provisions of Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority Act 2018 and its subsequent amendments.

The prime minister disapproved of the stringent criterion for the establishment of private farm markets and directed that the existing mechanism be reviewed to make it easy, convenient and affordable for the private sector.

He directed that the laws be suitably amended to put in place a compliance regime rather than approvals and the powers of regulation be devolved to divisional and district level and all activities at the market be video recorded to ensure transparency during auctioneering.

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