May 31, 2014 – BR Report
Punjab Food Department has so far procured over 3.6 million tons of wheat crossing the target of 3.5 million tons assigned to it by the provincial government under wheat procurement drive 2014. However, the department plans to remain in the market till the last grain available in the field.
“Though the total procurement of the department stands at 3,605,385 tonnes of wheat on Thursday still we would wait for the gunny bags department distributed through its procurement centers across the province. We have an approval of 40 days of procurement drive and it concludes by June 10 and department hopes to continue it till return of the distributed gunny bags,” said Director Food Punjab Usman Ahmad while talking to Business Recorder here on Friday.
Usman stated that one factor behind government purchase is to stabilise the market and traditionally prices crash once the department bid farewell to procurement. So, this time we will continue procurement drive till return of gunny bags distributed and department may go up to 4 million tons or above as directed by the Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Usman added.
He said procurement centers are still receiving 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of wheat daily and gunny bags distributed till Thursday were sufficient to pack wheat around 3,856,386 tonnes. “We even procured around 40,000 tonnes of wheat on Thursday; Usman said and added that there is no upper limit of purchase set by the Punjab government”. The department also had financial arrangements with the banks for 4 million tons purchase and further could also be arranged as they had cash flows. He said the department also negotiated loan at very low rate this year which is around KIBOR plus 85 basis points against previous deals of KIBOR plus over 200 basis points.
Director Food Punjab also said foolproof arrangements have been made to store the purchased wheat in a secured atmosphere. He said the Department also plans to initiate a third-party audit of procured wheat once the drive is complete. “We will through advertisement and through Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) procedure to select a third-party audit firm which would issue certification after inspecting all the procurement quality and quantity wise,” Captain (r) Usman Ahmad concluded.