The government has decided to allow import of 1.50 million metric tons (mmt) wheat through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP). A summary has been moved to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of cabinet by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R).
In its meeting held on July 15, 2020, the ECC had allowed the provincial governments, Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO), and TCP to invite tenders/bids for the import of wheat. In the ECC meeting held on August 4, 2020, the committee also granted permission to TCP to import 1.50mmt of wheat on behalf of PASSCO, Punjab and KP, while waving off all federal duties and taxes.
TCP floated international tenders and then asked the relevant authorities for the endorsement of demand, to the tune of 0.5mmt for PASSCO, 0.7mmt for Punjab and 0.3mmt for KP. As a response to this, Punjab’s provincial government requested the imported wheat at Rs 1400 per 40 kg. This was not agreed upon by the Finance division.
Now, the addition of expected wheat import of 1.574mmt by the TCP, is causing the Ministry of Food to fear that in case the aggregate quantity of imported wheat by the private sector, TCP and on the government to government basis exceeds 0.2mmt, it might lead to decrease in the local prices. That in turn is likely to impact the upcoming wheat cultivation and may also affect the minimum support price mechanism.
The ECC meeting on Wednesday decided to defer the matter for the next special meeting of the Cabinet to be held during the current week.