The private sector should be permitted to import low-cost wheat from Ukraine.

Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Wednesday that flour is getting more expensive across the country while the size of roti sold in ovens and hotels is getting smaller. If the private sector is allowed to import cheap wheat, it will reduce the price of flour in the market, relieving the masses facing severe inflation, he said. Shahid Rasheed Butt said today that food items are up to 70 per cent cheaper in India, and imports from neighbouring countries can substantially reduce food inflation and relieve the people.

He said that imports from India should be allowed, and the ban should be imposed again when inflation is controlled.

He demanded that the government import food from India to overcome the food security problem and end all taxes until the country’s agricultural production situation improves and returns to normalcy.

The business leader said that since the Russian attack on Ukraine, European and other countries have been imposing sanctions on Russia, providing financial support and military hardware to Ukraine, but at the same time, they are also doing business with Russia.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that due to record inflation in the country, millions of people have given up one meal and put other important issues like health and education on the back burner.

The prices of food items are increasing, but instead of giving any relief to the people, the rulers remain stubborn, which is unfortunate, he observed.

In the last ten months, the government has spent one billion dollars on the import of wheat and 818 million dollars on pulses, but the price of these items could not be reduced in the market because the mafia is controlling the whole system.

He said that if the private sector imports at least one million tonnes of wheat from Ukraine, its price can be reduced on the open market.

Ukrainian wheat is cheaper by 30,000 rupees per tonne compared to local grain, and its arrival will reduce the price in the open market and provide relief to the poor.

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