PM suspends two senior officials over wheat procurement crisis

Departments concerned told to ensure transparency in wheat procurement by using modern technology.

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Monday suspended two senior officials of PASCO over the crisis faced by farmers in connection with government failure to purchase wheat from them.

Presiding over a meeting held to discuss the issue, the prime minister expressed annoyance over the failure of the departments concerned to use technology to facilitate the procurement and storage of wheat.

Taking notices of complaints from farmers, the prime minister earlier had directed the federal government to immediately start purchasing wheat from them.

He had also announced to increase the target of the federal government to purchase wheat from 1.4 million metric tonnes to 1.8 million metric tonnes. He had directed the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services (PASCO) to increase the wheat purchase target and start purchasing wheat from farmers as soon as possible.

The farmers got worried after the Punjab food department said that its godowns had already 2.3 million tonnes of wheat and it had no room to store the fresh wheat. Moreover, it said that the current season was not suitable to purchase wheat.

At the meeting today, the prime minister suspended the managing director of PASCO and the general manager procurement for their negligence in the procurement of wheat.

The prime minister said that the departments concerned should utilize technology to ensure the procurement of wheat in a transparent manner.

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