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Millers employing tactics to increase flour price

30 May, 2008

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LAHORE: Flourmills have started to employ different tactics to increase the price of flour in the province by Rs 50 to Rs 60 per 18 kg, media has learnt here reliably. The flourmills have demanded the government that wheat quota should be started in June which normally starts in September.

The flourmills knew very well that the government will be unable to start the quota thus they will increase the price of the commodity citing the low supply from the private sector, sources said.

First it is impossible for the government to start wheat quota at present and it manages to do so it will face huge difficulties to meet the requirement of wheat during whole season, an official of Punjab Food Department said.

Governments wheat release programme starts in September and ends in April and the food department needs 3.5 million tonnes of wheat to meet future requirement but if quota starts in June the department will face an extra burden of 1.2 million tonne, the official added.

There is no justification for increasing flour prices as the price of flour is already very high, he said adding that the millers are making extra bucks from the trade by selling flour at higher prices in NWFP and Balochistan.

Sources of flourmills said that initially the association would ask the Punjab government to raise the price of flour by Rs 3 per kg or Rs 60 per bag and fix at Rs 425 per bag from current rate of Rs 365 per bag.

However, after negotiation they will agree to increase the price of flour by Rs 35 per 20 kg bag and fix it Rs 400 per bag. Talking to media, Pakistan Flour Mills Association Punjab Branch Chairman Habibur Rehman Legahri said that the members of the Supreme Council in their last meeting have decided to meet the Punjab Food Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran to start wheat quota.

A letter has been sent to the minister for the meeting, he said adding that if the government was not ready to start wheat quota then increase the price of flour. He claimed that the price of wheat in open market had reached Rs 725 per maund while when the government had fixed the price of flour Rs 365 the wheat price was Rs 625 per maund. We are ready to continue at Rs 365 per 20 kilogram bag if the government starts the release of wheat quota, he said.


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