Retail price of 10kg Ashrafi and Bake Parlour bags has risen to Rs450 from Rs440 a few days back. The price of 5kg bag has risen to Rs230 from Rs220. They said millers had raised the price last week by Rs10 per bag.
In September, millers raised the price of various varieties of flour twice, linking it to non-release of wheat by the Sindh government. The provincial government, instead of taking any action against millers, preferred to watch the situation from the sidelines.
After two price hikes (one by Rs10 per bag and another by Rs10-15) by millers in September, the Sindh government finally woke up and fixed wheat price to offload huge stocks. The provincial government’s rate for 100 kg plastic wheat bag is Rs3,270 and Rs3,340 for a jute bag.
Flour millers said they had kept the rate unchanged for the last nearly two months but local authorities, responsible for price control, should check the retailers of fleecing people.
They said the rate of 100kg wheat bag had been hovering at Rs3,450-3,500 for almost two months while it was priced at Rs3,150-3,200 in September. They said millers are taking wheat from the Sindh government now as wheat in the open market is expensive and in short supply.
The Sindh government had around 1.74 million tonnes of wheat stocks from 2013-14 to 2014-15 wheat crops.
A spokesman for the Sindh food ministry said the government had sold 234,000 tonnes of wheat (costing over Rs7.148 billion) since October. The quantity is expected to reach 325,000 tonnes by the end of this month.
People are paying higher price of flour varieties as the price of domestic wheat is higher than the imported one.
In dollar terms, the price of locally produced wheat is around $320-330 per tonne in the open market as compared to $160-170 of imported wheat, whose price was $180-185 a tonne in September 2015 and $209 in December 2014.
The Sindh government was also trying hard to clear the stocks for export purpose but depressed rates in world market had created hindrance.
Pakistan in January this year had set wheat export target of 1.2m tonnes by offering transport rebate from $45-55 per tonne. Despite extending date for exports, the aim to facilitate millers as well as to earn foreign exchange did not materialise. Punjab was allowed to export 800,000 tonnes with a transport rebate of $55 per tonne while Sindh was tasked 400,000 tonnes with a rebate of $45 per tonne.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, only 1,061 tonnes of wheat were exported during July-October this year, fetching just $220,000.
Wheat exports dropped to 10,441 tonnes ($3m) in 2014-15 from 20,037 tonnes ($7m) in 2013-14.
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