After wheat flour; shortage of ghee, cooking oil looms

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The country poor population was already facing wheat flour shortage as their worries increase more in forthcoming weeks as the shortage of ghee and cooking oil was also on the card. With rising prices of wheat flour and chicken already hitting most household budgets, two more staples ghee and cooking oil are also going to be short in supply as well as costlier ahead of the holy month of Ramazan if corrective measures are not taken immediately, it emerged.

Producers are fast running out of palm oil, soybean oil and sunflower. Lifting of 358,000 tonnes of edible oil from the Customs Bonded Warehouses has been suspended as banks are turning down requests for opening of LCs and retirement of documents. The State Bank has been infor­med that commercial banks have conveyed to importers-cum-manufacturers that edible oil has been excluded from its list of ‘Essential Items’ with immediate effect.

While 358,000 tonnes of raw material are awaiting clearance, around 175,000 tonnes loaded in about 10 vessels are at the outer anchorage of Karachi and Bin Qasim ports, awaiting discharge. Arrival of palm oil, sunflower and soybean oil takes at least 60 days to reach Pakistan from foreign destinations. He called upon the authorities concerned to resolve the issue immediately to avert a ghee and oil crisis in Ramazan, which may start in the third week of March.