Three top federal ministers have questioned bureaucracy’s poor performances during the federal cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The ministers accused officials of not making timely decisions to resolve the country’s persisting wheat and sugar crisis. According to them, they misdirected the government and are completely responsible for the crisis.
Murad Saeed, Faisal Vawda, and Shireen Mazari were the most aggressive ministers during the meeting while others also lambasted bureaucracy for taking too long to import wheat in the country.
Minister raised the question as to why the import of wheat was delayed when the prime minister had given written instructions in April 2020.
A representative of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research made full-hearted attempts to defend its position. He contended that the summaries were moved well before the ECC, so how they could be considered as responsible for the crisis. The official viewed that after the 18th Amendment, the Ministry of Food is working with a minimal workforce.
Whereas, the minister took the position that the delayed decision of importing wheat resulted in a hike of prices in the international market. They argued that when the first tender of wheat was floated, the international quoted price was $234 per ton. The second tender went up to $274 per ton, and in the third tender, it stood at $284 per ton. Who is responsible for these delayed decisions?
Why the import decision took so long when the strategic reserves were minimal at the start of the current season?
The private sector was permitted initially, but it also took a long time knowingly that the government would need to come into the import market to develop its stores. Besides all, PM Khan looked hopeful about reducing the ongoing inflation.
Further, the Ministry of National Food Security briefed the cabinet on procurement and availability of wheat. They were sure that by January 31, 2021, the accessibility of 1.5 million metric tonnes of wheat would be guaranteed.
The prime minister directed that a deliberate and facilitated approach should be devised to survey the requirements of wheat and sugar in an ideal way, which would incorporate the necessities of all the provinces. The import problems should be rectified so that there is no shortage. The Prime Minister emphasised that the quality of imported wheat should be ensured.