LAHORE-Anti-hoarding Ordinance should not be used as a tactic to pinch the business community. Businessmen will ensure that there is no artificial shortage of rice, edibles and other commodities. These views were expressed by LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Chairman REAP Shah Jahan Malik, Chairman Poultry Association of Pakistan Chaudhry Muhammad Furqan, Chairman Seed Association of Pakistan Chaudhry Bilal Ahmad, Rana Salman Ahmad, President Asia Pacific Seed Association Tahir Saleemi and representatives of various other large scale sectors while addressing a press conference at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday. They urged the government to define the difference between stock and hoarding to stop misuse of the recently promulgated ordinance regarding hoarding. They said that the ordinance has created unrest amongst the business community as there is no clear definition of the difference between stock and hoarding. They said that the business community was expecting that the government would take them on board and would have a consultation with the trade bodies for necessary rectification. They said that seed companies are not allowed to purchase basic and verified seed of wheat. Food Department is purchasing forcefully seed also from the growers of Punjab and Sindh. “How next crop of wheat will be sowed when the seed will not be available”, they questioned?

They said that seed is not prohibited under the Anti-hoarding Ordinance but authorities of the Food Department and district management are not allowing private companies to lift the seed which is leading to a severe crisis. They said that the business community has always taken a strict stance against the hoarding practices as they result in unnecessary shortages, especially of essential commodities and sudden price hikes.

“However, we are of the view that measures must be taken to ensure that this Ordinance is not misused by the concerned authorities as Rice and other commodities dealers would have to keep stock at factories, dealers, whole sellers and shopkeepers for their smooth business operations and supply chain”, they added.