Islamabad, May 10, 2022 (PPI-OT):The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said rising prices have become a threat to the government which should be tackled on priority. It welcomed the announcement of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to increase wheat production and end its black marketing. The decision to control the price of flour should be implemented as soon as possible so that the people who are facing inflation can get some relief, said Muhammad Aslam Khan, Chairman of PEW.
In a statement issued here, he said that inflation has become a threat to the reputation of the new government therefore, it should try to control profiteers. He said that the artificial difference between the supply and demand of wheat has been engineered by hoarders, which is driving up prices across the country.
Pakistan is facing a wheat shortfall of three million tonnes which should be imported without delay to ensure food security as wheat prices on the international market continue to rise due to low supply, high demand and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Aslam Khan further said that a delay in importing wheat will provide an opportunity for profiteers to cash on the miseries of the masses and they would continue to push up prices.
The reason behind the wheat and flour crisis in the country includes its hoarding and smuggling, which can be controlled. Presently, the government does not have the required foreign exchange to import three million tons of wheat, while the cheapest source of wheat is India which is constantly being ignored because of political issues. The price of flour has gone up by Rs11 per kg in Punjab while the same is happening in other parts of the country which is not acceptable, he observed.
A few years ago, Pakistan was self-sufficient in wheat production, but like other important sectors of the economy, this sector was destroyed by vested interests and now the country is forced to import enormous quantities of wheat and other agricultural items. Pakistan is called an agricultural country but eight billion dollars worth of agricultural commodities is imported annually which is a huge drag on the exchequer, he said.
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Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW)
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