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Centre asks provinces to share ghee, oil data
calendar27-02-2023 | linkDawn | Share This Post:

23/02/2023 (Dawn), Karachi -  Amid looming shortages in Ramazan due to a host of reasons mainly restrictions on palm oil imports, the PMLN-led coalition government has dire­cted provincial governments to provide monthly ghee and cooking oil consumption data and the number of mills in operations.


The provincial administrations have also been instructed to share data on available stocks of edible oil and prices of different brands.


The federal government took notice of surging prices very late despite a massive drop in the palm oil freight-on-board (FOB) rate to $1,000 per tonne in October 2022 from $1,600 per tonne in March 2022 in world markets.


Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association Secretary General Umer Islam Khan said prices of ghee and cooking oil continued to rise due to the rupee devaluation against the dollar.


The US dollar shot up to Rs276 from Rs220 in the interbank market making imports costlier since Ishaq Dar took over as finance minister of Pakistan.


However, the exchange rate is now settled at Rs262.


Citing reasons for rising ghee and cooking oil prices, he said the 1pc hike in general sales tax and massive increases in diesel, gas and packaging materials have pushed up the cost of production.


He claimed that the government has earned more revenue to the tune of Rs30,000 per tonne due to the rupee devaluation.


Mr Islam said producers are making limited supplies to the markets keeping in view the slow releases of palm oil stocks from the port followed by a huge price hike in palm oil in the domestic market to Rs17,500 per maund.


Retailers are also building up their inventories to meet Ramazan demand and so far no serious shortage of ghee and cooking exists, he said, anticipating shortage in case letters of credit (LCs) are not opened and shipments stuck at ports are not released by the banks.


The demand for ghee and cooking oil usually rises by 25 per cent during the holy month and industry people are worried over the non-opening of fresh LCs for the last month besides struggling to get the imported palm oil stocks cleared from the port.


He warned that stocks of palm oil in the factories are enough to meet 10-15 days’ consumption needs. “Consumers should make up their minds for fresh price hikes amid serious shortages in Ramazan, he added. A meeting to review the supply and demand situation of ghee and cooking oil in Ramazan was held at the Ministry of Industries on Wednesday.


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has recently set up a committee to ensure the removal of dollar shortfall and difficulties faced by importers.


Situation in KP/Balochistan


In the last two days, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has informed that out of 34 mills, 24 are operating, seven mills are closed, one is under construction followed by the winding up of two units.


The KP government said no shortage exists while appropriate stocks are available in the industries and the markets.”


The Balochistan government said that there is no expected shortage of edible oil products. Monthly consumption of cooking oil and ghee is 3,580 tonnes and 4,080 tonnes, respectively, while total stocks in all districts are 1,096 tonnes of cooking oil and 1,512 tonnes of ghee.