ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In order to enhance flour production and to bring down flour price, it has been decided that 80:20 grinding ratio of wheat will be ensured by the provincial governments.
Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also tasked the Finance Minister to review the existing business model of procurement of wheat and to suggest ways and means to cut down administrative costs being incurred during the procurement, transmission, and storage process of wheat.
The decision was taken during a high-level meeting in Islamabad on Thursday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
The meeting was attended among others by the Federal and Provincial Ministers and relevant Federal and Provincial Secretaries.
The Provincial Chief Secretaries were also present during the meeting via video link.
وزیراعظم عمران خان کی زیرصدارت کسان (پھل اور سبزی) منڈیوں کی تعداد میں اضافے اور گندم سے آٹے کی پیداوار میں اضافے کے حوالے سے اجلاس pic.twitter.com/j82o3kd0hU
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) February 11, 2021
The Prime Minister was informed by the Senior Provincial Minister for Food Punjab that as per his directions, the Punjab government was releasing wheat to flour mills since July 7, 2020.
It was 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 Rs 510 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 the 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.
The Chief Secretaries Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa briefed the Prime Minister about the existing regulatory mechanisms of the provinces for the establishment of fruit and vegetable markets.
The Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that after the directives of the Prime Minister, 65 kissan markets have been established in the province. On the tehsil level, 13 markets have been set-up where the licenses were auctioned.
In addition, 23 markets have been established at raw sites.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the existing provisions of the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority Act 2018 and its subsequent amendments.
While disapproving the stringent criterion for the establishment of private farm markets, the Prime Minister directed that the existing mechanism be reviewed to make it easy, convenient, and affordable for the private sector.
The Prime Minister directed that the laws be suitably amended to put in place a compliance regime rather than approvals; the powers of regulation be devolved to divisional and district level & all activities at the market be video recorded to ensure transparency during auctioneering.
The Prime Minister also directed the Chief Secretaries that the administration should ensure that commodities at the retail level are being provided to the consumers at officially notified prices.
Imran Khan directed that strict action should be taken against the concerned officials in case of any neglect.
The Prime Minister said that the government functionaries should realize the sufferings of the public due to artificial price hike and administrative failures.