ISLAMABAD (NNI): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Tuesday appreciated the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee to increase regulatory duty on the import of wheat from 40 percent to 60 percent. “The decision by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will save the farmers from the negative impact of wheat imports from Central Asian states and from that of falling prices in the international market,” said ICST Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt. In a statement issued here, he said that increase in regulatory duty on the wheat import was demand of the farming community, while the business community had supported it unconditionally. Butt said the country already had surplus stock of wheat and all efforts to export wheat had backfired; therefore wheat imports at this stage were against the national interests. He said that the federal and provincial governments had almost 10 million tonnes of surplus wheat of which a large quantity was under threat due to rains and inadequate storage facilities.
He noted that earlier this year, the government had increased duty on wheat imports from 25 percent to 40 percent, but it had failed to deter the importers.
“The surplus wheat could not be exported due to low prices despite frequent extension in dates and upward revision in the export rebate which hit almost $90 per ton,” he added.
Butt further said that the federal government had allowed Punjab and Sindh to sell twelve hundred thousand tonnes of wheat but both the provinces could sell only one third of the target.

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