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Govt will need to import 3m tonnes of wheat, warns trade body

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  • PBF Vice Chairman Ahmad Jawad says looming wheat gap within Pakistan may morph into a full-blown crisis soon.
  • Forum urges provincial food depts to monitor wheat purchase by private sector to avoid hoarding.
  • Says govt could have to import a minimum of 3 million tonnes of grain to stabilise the market.

ISLAMABAD: A trade body on Monday warned of a looming wheat crisis in the country , urging the government to ban wheat exports to stabilise the wheat prices and cater to supply gaps.

“Looming wheat gap within the country currently seems prepared to morph into a full-blown crisis over the approaching months,” said Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Vice President Ahmad Jawad.

PBF urged provincial food departments to monitor wheat purchase by the private sector and curb involvement of middlemen to avoid hoarding. The explanations embodied domestic output inadequacy and billowy international costs within the wake Ukraine issue. The flour costs were probably to rise additional if the govt remained unable to manage imports and take action against hoarders, it added.

The explanations embodied domestic output inadequacy and billowy international costs in the wake of the Ukraine issue. The flour costs were probably to rise additional if the govt remained unable to manage imports and take action against hoarders, it added.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been educated that this wheat harvest is probably going to hover around 26.2 million tonnes against the target of 28.9 million tonnes.” 

The forum said the government may have to import a minimum of 3 million tonnes of grain to stabilise the market and meet the demand of 30.8 million tonnes, despite a carryover stock of 1 million ton.

PBF said that the imports could surpass estimates, pushed by wheat smuggling into Afghanistan, adding that market players had decried wheat imports in the extended quantity. 

“One, the cereal is briefly provided globally owing to a poor harvest, secondly, Pakistan doesn’t have enough bucks to get costly imports with the nation’s foreign currency reserves plunging to $10.5 billion on the widening trade and accounting deficits.”

“What will wheat shortages and costly imports mean for the shoppers,” the group questioned. The flour millers have already raised their costs in Punjab by Rs11 per weight unit supported the open market wheat value of Rs2,200 per 40kg when the termination of official releases.

Punjab had been providing wheat to the millers at the subsidised value of Rs1,950 per 40kg, which was additional slashed to Rs1,600 for the first 20 days of Ramadan.

“The flour inadequacy within the market and also the high value of the artifact could increase food insecurity within the country, particularly within the additional backward and poorer districts of the country, unless the govt proactively ensures its convenience at subsidised rates.”

Jawad deplored wheat shortages and increasing imports, and asked for immediate measures to deal with factors such as water shortage, poor farm management practices, global climate change, and carbamide inconvenience, which had bogged down the agriculture sector.

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An increase in tax was made on restaurant card payments.

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After 15 years, the SRB reduced the service tax that 58 hotels and restaurants in Karachi could have charged on debit and credit card purchases to 15%. This action is a part of the Sindh budget, which was designed to make eating out less expensive for customers.

Prior to this, Sindh’s tax on credit and debit card purchases was lowered from 15% to 8%.

Officials from the SRB have further stated that the service was made available for input adjustment of restaurant tax payments. With this step, businesses will be able to efficiently handle their tax responsibilities and the tax process would be made simpler.

Only a few eateries have been given authority to remove the lower tax rate, even though this tax facility has been reversed.

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The KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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