The federal government has constituted a special team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the prevailing wheat crisis across the country.
The FIA’s deputy director will head the team to determine the offenders who caused the crisis, and the role played by the government officials in the matter.
The commissioner at the Ministry of Food Security is on the record admitting that the wheat shortage was due to “mismanagement” and that Pakistan missed its wheat production target by 1.03 million tons.
But let’s pretend there is no crisis. https://t.co/2VOihFZABW
— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) January 22, 2020
Importantly, the team will inquire about the amount of wheat bought by the mill owners and the amount of wheat flour produced by those mills.
According to sources, a report carrying recommendation(s) to end the wheat crisis will be sent to higher officials.
The surge in the cost of flour created an impression of wheat and flour shortage across the country that National Food Security Secretary, Hashim Popalzai, rejected
A report will also be prepared on the total production of wheat, the surplus amount, and a list of individuals who purchased the commodity from the open market.
Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan is importing 0.3 million tonnes of wheat in Pakistan to tackle the flour shortage in the country. They announced that the first shipments will come into the country by February 15. The imports will be allowed without duty in order to keep prices low.
The flour crisis looming for months intensified in January leading to higher prices. Currently, a one-kilogram bag of flour is available for Rs. 70 following a six rupees increase last week. Flour prices jumped by Rs. 4 in the first week of January. One 20kg bag in KP is now costing Rs. 1100 despite the Prime Minister’s announcement last month that it would cost around Rs. 800 in utility stores. Most KP utility stores are saying they have no flour to distribute.
A massive public outcry followed the flour shortage and price hike across the country. Buyers complained that an unprecedented rise in flour price has affected people with marginal incomes.
PTI, a gift that keeps giving. Decision to export 200,000 to 400,000 tons of wheat was made keeping in view surplus stocks on the basis of estimates and the actual exports of wheat crossed 640,000 tons. Now there is shortage at home. https://t.co/ITOEC8SjgY
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) January 20, 2020
They blamed flour millers and the Punjab government for the flour shortage.
The surge in the cost of flour created an impression of wheat and flour shortage across the country that National Food Security Secretary, Hashim Popalzai, rejected.
He pinned the recent strike of transporters the reason for the shortage of flour in the federal capital and four provinces because mills did not get wheat on time. He called it a flour shortage ‘temporary crisis’ that will end in 15-20 days.