Prime Minister Imran orders the authorities to stop smuggling and hoarding of basic food
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered interested authorities to stop smuggling and hoarding of basic foods, while announcing a major operation against those guilty of the “artificial crisis.”
Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, National Minister of Food Security Khusro Bakhtiyar, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the special assistants to Prime Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan and Abdul Razzaq Dawood, federal secretaries and Senior government officials were present at the high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran.
“Bringing stability in basic food prices and reducing their rates is the top priority of the government,” Prime Minister Imran said, adding that “the focus of the government right now is to provide relief to the country’s poor citizens. “.
The recommendations presented on the matter should be taken into consideration immediately so that they can be implemented, he said.
We should pay special attention to the actual data on wheat, sugar and other food products, said Prime Minister Imran, adding that the same attention should be paid in obtaining estimates of demand and supply.
The government decided to buy wheat for twice its previous objective to achieve price stability and close the gap between its demand and supply. It was also decided during the meeting that sugar prices will be set by the sugar advisory board by having it evaluated by a third party.
During the meeting it was decided that concrete and effective measures will be taken to prevent smuggling of wheat, onions, tomatoes and other foods abroad. The government decided that it will forward a proposal to the Economic Coordination Committee (CEC) to reduce the tax applied to basic foods.
Last month, wheat and sugar prices skyrocketed across the country after it was discovered that staple foods had disappeared from the markets. An investigation found that senior government officials were involved in the grabbing of wheat that created the artificial crisis.
Prime Minister Imran announced a “big operation” against those found guilty of hoarding and smuggling basic food. Last week, the government announced a package of Rs15 billion for public service stores to help the masses.
On Saturday, the prime minister admitted that the wheat and sugar crisis had originated as a result of his government’s negligence.
“This was ours [government] neglect, I admit it, “he said.” I’m telling you this today, we are conducting an investigation on this [wheat and sugar crisis] and slowly we are getting to know who is involved. I promise that, whoever is involved in the crisis, we will not leave that person, “he had said at an event in Lahore.