PEW de­mands re­moval of dis­tor­tions in wheat mar­ket

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The Pak­istan Econ­omy Watch ( PEW) on Sun­day asked the govern­ment to tackle dis­tor­tions in the wheat mar­ket as forty per­cent pop­u­la­tion is liv­ing below the poverty line but they are forced to con­sume costli­est wheat flour in the world.

Re­vis­it­ing sup­port price can im­prove the sit­u­a­tion as an­nu­ally sur­plus wheat worth bil­lions is wasted due to im­proper stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, said Dr. Mur­taza Mughal, Pres­i­dent PEW.

In a state­ment is­sued here to­day, he said that a for­mer prime min­is­ter dou­bled the wheat sup­port price due to slid­ing pop­u­lar­ity of his party which boosted the pro­duc­tion be­yond con­trol.

The bid to win elec­tions failed and coun­try lost com­pet­i­tive edge in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket run­ning out of all op­tions but to ex­port a lit­tle quan­tity and start do­nat­ing the com­mod­ity.

Dr. Mur­taza Mughal said that govern­ment has around six mil­lion tonnes of wheat in stor­age while next crop is ex­pected to touch 25 mil­lion tonnes mark due to good weather con­di­tions which will worsen the sit­u­a­tion and may re­sult in a loss of Rs 20 bil­lion.

He said that govern­ment has al­lowed 45 to 55 dol­lar sub­sidy on ex­port of wheat which proved fu­tile as tar­get of 1.2 mil­lion tonnes of ex­port failed with a wide mar­gin.

Coun­try could only ex­port wheat worth three mil­lion dol­lars in 2014- 15 while ex­ports be­fore that were worth seven mil­lion tonnes which shows a drop of over fifty per­cent.

Govern­ment should re­visit the whole mech­a­nism to save ex­che­quer from fur­ther losses, he de­manded.

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