ISLAMABAD: Prices of sugar have gone up in the country after the wheat crisis that has jacked up the prices of bread to more than Rs12-15 apiece.
Sugar is selling at Rs 80 per kg in Lahore at retail shops and upto Rs 90 per kg in other parts of the country.
During the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s 15 months, sugar prices have shot up to as high as Rs80 per kg.lo. However, over the past week, the wholesale rate rose from Rs64 to Rs74 per kg and an acute shortage surfaced in the country. Last year, Pakistan produced 600,000 tonnes of sugar. Now, however, the wholesale rate of sugar is Rs80 a kilo next week.
Further, if the government does with sugar what it did with wheat-flour and does not halt exporting it, prices could jump up to Rs100 per kg.
Flour crisis became acute in the country, affecting major cities such as Karachi, Hyderabad, and Lahore with prices shooting up to Rs70 per kg in some areas.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the wheat price hike and ordered a grand operation against hoarders to overcome the crisis.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Monday approved the import of 0.3 million tonnes of wheat without regulatory duty amid an unprecedented price hike and country-wide shortage during the past few days, as criticism continued to mount on the federal government.
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Chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the committee has allowed for wheat to be imported till March 31, with the first shipment due to arrive by February 15.
It has also asked the Punjab government and the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) to release wheat stocks in order to overcome a country-wide shortage.
A statement issued by the Finance Ministry said that Punjab and PASSCO have approximately 41 tonnes of wheat stocks available.
It is not yet clear from which country or countries Pakistan will be importing the wheat. During the meeting, the government also approved the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) waiver of Rs400 per bag on urea to ensure the supply of cheap fertiliser to farmers.