KARACHI: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday asked the government to tackle distortions in the wheat market as forty percent population is living below the poverty line but they are forced to consume costliest wheat flour in the world.
Revisiting support price can improve the situation as annually surplus wheat worth billions is wasted due to improper storage facilities, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW in a statement issued from Islamabad. In a statement issued here today, he said that a former prime minister doubled the wheat support price due to sliding popularity of his party which boosted the production beyond control. The bid to win elections failed and country lost competitive edge in the international market running out of all options but to export a little quantity and start donating the commodity.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that government has around six million tonnes of wheat in storage while next crop is expected to touch 25 million tonnes mark due to good weather conditions which will worsen the situation and may result in a loss of Rs 20 billion. He said that government has allowed 45 to 55 dollar subsidy on export of wheat which proved futile as target of 1.2 million tonnes of export failed with a wide margin.
Country could only export wheat worth three million dollars in 2014-15 while exports before that were worth seven million tonnes which shows a drop of over fifty percent. Government should revisit the whole mechanism to save exchequer from further losses, he demanded.