KARACHI - The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Sindh chapter has proposed that the government should bear Rs5 billion subsidy to release the wheat quota to flour mills on Rs20/per kg immediately, otherwise the flour prices will hike due to depleting stocks available with the private sector. They also sought concessions on account for exporting flour to African countries as government has already announced to export the 0.2m tons flour in this season. Johar Kandhari, Chairman Pakistan Flour Mills Association Sindh Circle demanded this while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club here on Saturday. Other leaders of PFMA Chaudhary Nasir Abdullah, M Ilyas and others were also present on the occasion. Provincial Chief of PFMA congratulated the government over the highest ever quantity of 9m tons wheat procured by four provinces and PASSCO from the crops season FY2008-09. Out of which, 5.8 million tons wheat procured by Punjab, 1.2 million by Sindh, 0.50 million NWFP, 0.40 million by Balochistan and about 2 million wheat have been procured by PASSCO. Johar further said that the procurement of wheat has been doubled to 1.2m this year against merely 0.6 million of last year and proposed that government should release the wheat quota to flour mills on subsidized rate of Rs20 per kg (Rs200 per 100kg), while Rs5 billion subsidy must be borne by the provincial government. They pointed out that the wheat storage capacity in warehouses of the Sindh Food Department is only 0.7 million, while remaining wheat stocks are lying in open places which resulted in the spoil of commodity due to current rainy season. The members of flour mills body said that the anticipated spoiling of wheat will result huge loss to provincial exchequer as government has spent over Rs22 billion on procurement of wheat stocks, they said, adding that keeping in mind to the interest of people of the province, the government should release wheat to flour mills on subsidized rates. He said that upward trend has been witnessed in the prices of flour during last fifteen days due to increase in petroleum products and hike in transport fares. However, the depleting wheat stock with private sector is also another reason behind price hike of flour, while flour mills purchasing commodity from open market on higher rates of over Rs26/kg in Karachi, he said and added that flour mills selling flour at Rs31 per kg. He made a commitment that if government bearing Rs5 billion subsidy for releasing wheat on Rs20/kg to flour mills, we will sell the flour on Rs24 to Rs25 per kg at ex-mill rate, otherwise the flour prices will further shot up. He further said that they have written a letter to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and officials concerned of the federal government to convene a meeting to discuss proposals regarding releasing and rate issues of wheat with flour mills body. Seeking the waiver of condition for submitting deposit amount over the export of flour, Flour Mills body leaders said that instead of imposing tough conditions, government should give relief to export flour to African countries. The Middle East countries are exporting flour on $300 to $350 per ton, but our domestic prices of wheat are much higher i.e. $400 from international prices of commodity, which require some concession from the govt.