Wheat imports may thrive

by Aamir Shafaat Khan
Dawn

WHEAT
WHEAT

KARACHI: The first ship carrying 25,000 tonnes of Russian wheat is set to arrive at Karachi Port by the end of July while traders plan to import more wheat from August onwards.

Chairman of Sindh Circle Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Chaudhry Ansar Jawed claimed that the landed cost of 25,000 tonnes of wheat comes to Rs3,200 per 100kg bag.

He said private parties and flour mills set into motion after a hint in a meeting held on June 28 with stakeholders in wheat economy to chop withholding tax on imports.

Ansar claimed that so far the withholding tax (WHT) of five per cent has not been cut, but Minister National Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan hinted at sending the proposal to the ECC to reduce WHT.

Giving further details, the PFMA chairman said another 200,000 tonnes would be imported in the coming months in which one of the ships carrying 50,000 tonnes will arrive by the end of August.

He added that wheat imports had been thriving from Russia and Eastern Europe at a price between $278 and $289 a tonne. “I expect wheat import to cross 800,000 tonnes by January 2014.”

Asked that around 21,454 tonnes of un-milled wheat of worth $6.8 million had already arrived in May as per figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), he said that this must have been imported by various organisations for Afghanistan and not by the local private sector.

He said wheat price had been declining continuously and a 100kg bag was now available at Rs3,425 as compared to June’s price of Rs3,180.

Flour millers pushed up the rates many times, but they have kept the rates unchanged lately at Rs1,925 for flour no.2.5 and Rs2,050 per 50kg bag for fine and super fine flour.

The import of wheat at Rs3,250 per 100kg bag would help stabilising and moderating price, he said.

The country’s wheat production ranges between 23m and 23.5m tonnes and, according to the PFMA chairman, flour consumption has been increasing by at least 3pc every year.

Country’s wheat export declined to 199,515 tonnes ($63m) in July-May 2012-13 as compared to 403,977 tonnes ($124m) in same period last fiscal year, showing fall of 51 per cent in quantity and 49 per cent in value terms.

Published in ZaraiMedia.com

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