The government promised essential kitchen items at reduced rates
There was no reduction in prices of wheat flour, sugar and edible oil anywhere in the country on Thursday though the federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen had promised, a day ago, that the government would reduce the prices of these essential kitchen items.
After the announcement, SAMAA TV correspondents in different cities reconfirmed food prices by visiting markets.
In Lahore, bags of wheat flour were briefly sold at a reduced rate at a few places, but soon the supply evaporated. It was learnt that the supply was disrupted by flour mills, forcing people to roam around the city in search of cheap wheat flour.
Director of the Punjab Food Department Umar Jehangir had boasted that wheat flour would be sold at Rs1,100 per 20kg at retail while it would be available at Rs1,075 per 20kg bag.
People in Lahore complained that they were unable to buy wheat flour at reduced rates and it was still being sold at Rs1,250 per 20kg bag.
It was also learnt that ghee and sugar mills were also refusing to supply either of the foodstuff at reduced rates.
President of the Lahore Flour Dealers Association Haji Mohammad Yousuf said that if the supply did not resume, there was a possibility of shortage (and subsequent spike in its price).
A flour dealer Zulfiqar Ali said that price of nothing had been reduced. “Neither wheat flour, nor sugar or edible oil were available at reduced prices,” he said.
Interestingly, the federal government moved to import as much as four million tons of wheat to avoid shortage, while it was also importing 600,000 tons of sugar which would arrive in market by next week.
Although they promised to cut the price, flour mills around Lahore refused to sell wheat flour at Rs1,100 per 20kg bag.
In Quetta, people saw no reduction in prices of either wheat flour, sugar or edible oil. Cooking oil continued to sell at Rs320 a liter, sugar at Rs106 per kilogram and wheat flour at Rs62 a kilogram.
People in Quetta said that they had no purchasing power, adding that the government should either keep its promise or tender resignation. Citizens said that people’s miseries would increase if the situation persisted and commodity prices did not come down.