ISLAMABAD    -  Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday said that after the arrival of imported wheat in local markets, prices of the commodity had reduced significantly.

Addressing a press conference flanked by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz and Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, he said that prices of wheat came down across 108 cities in the country.

The minister said the price would further decrease as soon as the country received more imported grains that would also discourage the hoarders and profiteers in the local markets.

Giving the details about the imported wheat, he said that all arrangements had been finalized in order to import the remaining quantity of wheat, adding that 9.5 million tons of wheat would arrive by December.

He said that about 1.5 million tons of wheat would reach by the month of February which would supplement the domestic strategic reserves and would be sufficient to meet the local requirements till the harvest of next crop. He said the government had also decided to enhance its releases to mills in order to ensure the supply of adequate quantity of flour by monitoring the grains milling, adding that it was also supplying wheat and flour to 368 ‘Sahulat Bazars’ established to facilitate the masses.

Fakhar Imam said that wheat was the basic food element and its domestic output was recorded at 25.25 million tons which was less than the domestic requirements, adding that after 12 years, the government  decided to import the commodity.

He said that Punjab had started its releases from July in order to keep the supply smooth and stabilise the prices, whereas the Sindh Government could not recognize the gravity of the situation and delayed its decision regarding the wheat releases.

Speaking on the occasion, Hammad Azhar said that about100,000 tons of sugar had already arrived at Karachi port, out of which 40,000 tons had been dispatched after the inspection which would be available in the market on controlled rates.

He said that the prices of imported sugar would be less than Rs15-20 per kg as compared the sugar in local markets, adding that further 50,000 tons of sugar would also reach soon. 

The minister said that sugar mills in Punjab had also assured to initiate sugarcane crushing in given time frame, adding that early crushing would also help in further bringing down the prices of the commodity.

He said that there was no mechanism of physical inspection of the commodity, adding that a proper inspection was vital for authentic data to tackle with domestic requirements.

Hammad said that industrial package announced by the government was widely hailed by the industrial sector that would help promote the industry, create job opportunities and economic development of the country.

He said that electricity tariff for industrial sector was higher as compared to other sectors, adding that reduction in tariff would help flourish industrial sector in the country.

The minister said that despite the global slowdown, local large scale manufacturing sector including cement, fertilizer, tractor and construction were performing well.