Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA-Punjab Branch) on Tuesday announced increasing flour prices to Rs 34 per kilogram at the retail level from the previous Rs 31 per kilogram, citing the increase in wheat prices and diesel and electric tariff as the reason.
This is the second raise in the last two weeks as the Association earlier had announced a raise in flour prices before Eid when the prices of 20 kilograms bag was increased from Rs 585 to Rs 610 per bag because of the same factors. The Association also announced gradually introducing only 10 kilograms packing in the market instead of two packings of 20 kilograms and 10 kilograms. The rate for a 10 kilograms flour bag would be Rs 340 per kilograms, said PFMA-Punjab Chairman Chaudhry Abdul Jabbar and former PFMA Central President Asim Raza Ahmad while addressing a press conference today.
Replying to various queries, Asim Raza Ahmad said that 10 kilograms packing was being introduced to facilitate the consumers. He said that earlier increase was made when the Punjab government stopped supply of subsidised wheat under the Ramzan package and mills started buying wheat from the open market for grinding and marketing.
PFMA Punjab Chairman said it is over three months now since the new wheat crop had entered the market. With every passing day prices of the wheat in the open market were increasing and at present, these were around Rs 1080 per 40 kilograms in the wheat production areas while in cities and non-wheat areas price of the commodity had reached over Rs 1100 per 40 kilogram. This trend was still prevailing; he added and said that despite this increase flour mills were facing hardships in getting wheat from the open market.
He said besides this, the increase in petroleum and electricity prices had also pushed up the grinding cost. He claimed that the prices of flour were increased some three years back and since then, the prices of petroleum, wheat and electricity had registered a manifold increase. ‘We passed on the benefits of lower rates of wheat to the masses till we bought cheaper wheat from the open market but at the prevailing prices it is no more possible,’ said Chaudhry Jabbar.
PFMA-Punjab Chairman and Asim Raza Ahmad said that executive committee of the Association met today and they, with a majority of votes, decided to increase the prices of flour. With immediate effect 10 kilograms bag would be available at Rs 320 ex-mill and at Rs 340 at the retail level. Supply of 20 kilograms bag would continue till stocks last and gradually 10 kilograms packing would be the major share holder, they added.