Pakistan: 67 senior government officials have been suspended for allegedly stealing over 40 tonnes of wheat in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Also, a show cause notice has been issued to them. This wheat was supplied by Russia.
Action on 49 food supervisors and 18 food inspectors
The case of wheat theft has come to the fore not in any one district, but from the government godowns built in the entire 10 districts. The suspended officers include 49 food supervisors and 18 food inspectors. It is alleged that the officers made the wheat disappear with the help of the employees of the godown.
The case of alleged wheat theft comes amid the ongoing economic crisis and food shortage in Pakistan. Wheat flour prices are skyrocketing in Pakistan.
5 million tonnes was sent by the Russian government
Actually, Russia is going to send four lakh 50 thousand tonnes of wheat. In this sequence, in the first week of March, a Russian ship carrying 50 thousand tonnes of wheat reached Gwadar port. But out of this 50 thousand tonnes, about 40,392 tonnes of wheat has gone missing. The 10 godowns from where food grains went missing are located in Dadu, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Ghotki, Sangar and Mirpurkhas districts.
The Sindh Food Department has sent show cause notices to the accused officials asking them to explain their position as to why they should not be terminated from service.
Import increased 8 times due to Ukraine war
According to a report, Russia’s wheat imports to Pakistan have increased eight-fold due to supply disruptions from Ukraine. According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), in 2020 Pakistan imported wheat worth $1.01 billion, of which $496 million came from Ukraine, while $394 million came from Russia. But experts suggest that the wheat crisis is due more to distribution constraints than supply constraints.
Flour being sold for Rs 145 to 160 per kg
Punjab and Sindh are among the largest wheat producing states in Pakistan. But due to food crisis and financial constraints, wheat flour is being sold between Rs 145 (Pakistani currency) to Rs 160 per kg in both the states. Pakistan is currently facing a shortage of 2.37 million metric tonnes of wheat. This year, the government of Pakistan had announced that it would import 2.6 million metric tonnes of food grains.
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