MoF suggests 70pc increase in wheat price in GB

ECC rejects additional 10,000 MT wheat quota for Gilgit Balitistan region

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Sunday rejected the increase due to financial constraints, asking the regional government to increase the price of the commodity by 70 per cent to compensate for the additional purchase of wheat to secure the extra release.

According to sources, a summary was submitted to ECC for the grant of additional subsidised wheat to GB. However, the Ministry of Finance set the condition of increasing prices for an increase in the quota as the additional wheat on a subsidised rate would burden the central government’s budget.

The Finance Division can only support an increase in wheat quota from 150,000 to 160,000 MT per annum provided the sale price Rs12 per kg is enhanced up to 70pc of the support price in phases, sources said. 

It may be recalled that during the election campaign, leaders of ruling party including Minister of Kashmir Affairs and GB Ali Amin Gandapur had announced to increase the wheat quota keeping in view of the rising demand in the region.

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However, the Ministry of Finance which bears Rs6 billion for the subsidy suggested the regional government to increase the price of the commodity by 70pc to compensate for the additional purchase of wheat from PASSCO, which the government of GB rejected due to possible political damage.

Keeping the background in view, the ECC in its recent meeting had turned down the demand while maintaining the existing quota of 150,000 MT annual wheat supply to the region under the subsidised rate.    

As per documents available with this scribe, on the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan’s request, the ministry of Food Security and Research had submitted a summary for enhancement of allocation of GB’s wheat quota to 160,000 MT.

 

 

 

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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