PM forms inquiry committee to probe ‘unnecessary’ wheat import 

35,87,373 metric tons of wheat imported from September 2023 to March 2024 allegedly caused a loss of $1 billion in foreign exchange 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed an inquiry committee headed by the Secretary Cabinet Division to probe into the matter ‘unnecessary’ import of wheat. 

Chairing a high-level review meeting regarding the current status of wheat reserves in the country, the prime minister inquired from the Ministry of National Food Security about the import of wheat last year.

The prime minister questioned why the decision to import wheat was taken despite the high production of the commodity last year.

Expressing satisfaction over the bumper crop this year, the prime minister stressed to ensure no delay in the wheat purchase. 

All necessary steps should be taken regarding the purchase of wheat, he said adding the farmers should be immediately paid for their hard work. 

On Thursday, Profit reported that despite surplus domestic stocks, importing more than 35,87,373 metric tons of wheat from September 2023 to March 2024 allegedly caused a loss of $1 billion of foreign exchange to the country. 

According to sources, the Ministry of National Food Security has facilitated the import of wheat allegedly in league with the flour mafia and wheat importers and defrauded the country of more than one billion dollars of foreign exchange. 

This import has inflicted a loss of above Rs 300 billion to the farmers and Rs 104 billion to the government exchequer, according to sources privy to the development.

Sharing details, the sources said wheat stocks with PASSCO and provincial food departments were 43,65,220 metric tons on April 1, 2024, and there was no need for private import of wheat. 

They said as the private sector and flour millers imported wheat, PASSCO and provincial food departments could not sell their stocks of 43,65,220 metric tons and incurred average incidental charges of Rs 950 per maund/40 kg, and total loss to the government because of incidental amounted to Rs 104 billion which has allegedly indirectly gone to the pockets of flour millers, traders and bureaucracy. 

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