Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has directed the Ministry of National Food Security Research (NFS&R) to ask provinces to remove bottlenecks and incentivize export of wheat. Presiding over a recent meeting of the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, the Finance Minister also directed Secretary NFS&R to engage with the Pakistan Flour Mills Association to persuade them to achieve export target with an extended timeline.
According to official documents, the NFS&R revealed that the ECC of the Cabinet while considering a summary titled “offload/ export public sector’s surplus wheat stocks” decided to allow export of 800,000 tons wheat by the Government of Punjab and 400,000 M. tons by the Government of Sindh at a transport rebate of $ 55 per metric ton and $ 45 per metric ton respectively.
The ECC of the Cabinet in its meeting held on February 9, 2015 had also approved export of wheat flour, along with wheat, and directed that the lifting operation should be completed by March 31, 2015 for Sindh and April 15, 2015 for Punjab.
It was also decided that export would take place within 30 days of the respective lifting date. The lifting period was extended twice by the ECC in its meetings held on March 19 and June 10, 2015. It was reported that only 0.280 million tons wheat/wheat products had been exported so far by the Provinces of Punjab and Sindh (0.187 million tons) and (0.093 million tons) respectively.
The meeting was informed that the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) had requested that because of lengthy and cumbersome procedures and decline in international prices of wheat the pace of exports was rather slow. The month of Ramadan and Eid holidays had also dampened exports. The Ministry of National Food Security requested the ECC of the Cabinet to allow extension in export period of wheat and wheat flour till 30 September, 2015 which was granted.