PM tasks FM to review existing business model of wheat procurement

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ISLAMABAD:   In order to enhance flour production and to bring down flour price, it has been decided that 80:20 grinding ratio of wheat will be ensured by the provincial governments.
Moreover, the Prime Minister has also tasked Finance Minister (FM) to review the existing business model of procurement of wheat and to suggest ways and means to cut down administrative costs being incurred during procurement, transmission and storage process of wheat.
According to PM House resources the decision was taken during a high level meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair. The meeting was attended among others by federal and provincial ministers and relevant federal and provincial secretaries. Chief Secretaries of the provinces were also present during the meeting via video link.
The Prime Minister was informed by Senior Provincial Minister for Food Punjab that as per his directions, the Punjab government was releasing wheat to flour mills since 07 July 2020. It was informed that so far 3.6 MT wheat has been released with a provision of Rs. 50 billion as subsidy.
The meeting was informed that Punjab was incurring a cost of Rs. 510 per 40kg of wheat in lieu of various administrative charges including procurement, transmission and storage. This additional burden was being absorbed by the provincial government and was not being passed on to the consumers.
The Prime Minister directed Finance Minister to review the existing system of procurement and to suggest an efficient business model for the purpose of cutting down additional expenses being incurred by the food department.
Chief Secretary Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa briefed the Prime Minister about the existing regulatory mechanisms of the provinces for establishment of fruit and vegetable markets.
Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that after the directives of the Prime Minister, 65 Kissan Markets have been established in the province. On tehsil level, 13 markets have been set-up where the licenses were auctioned. In addition, 23 markets have been established at raw sites.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the existing provisions of Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority Act 2018 and its subsequent amendments.
The Prime Minister while disapproving the stringent criterion for establishment of private farm markets directed that the existing mechanism be reviewed to make it easy, convenient and affordable for the private sector.
The Prime Minister directed that the laws be suitably amended to put in place a compliance regime rather than approvals; the powers of regulation be devolved to divisional and district level and all activities at market be video recorded to ensure transparency during auctioneering.
The Prime Minister also directed Chief Secretaries that the administration should ensure that commodities at retail level are being provided to the consumers at officially notified prices. He directed that strict action should be taken against the concerned officials in case of any neglect.
The Prime Minister said that government functionaries should realize the sufferings of the public due to artificial price hike and administrative failures