Punjab food minister tenders resignation

Days a report by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) implicated Punjab Food Minister for creating wheat crisis , Samiullah Chaudhary has tendered resignation from his post.

Samiullah Chaudhry resigned as the provincial food minister after meeting Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

The provincial minister submitted resignation after he was accused of not bringing reforms in the food department and failure to regulate the hike in prices of wheat and flour.

He said that he is voluntarily presenting himself for accountability.

Chaudhry said he has been illegally involved in the scandal, adding that all allegations against him are baseless.

Earlier, an investigative report by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the country’s wheat crisis revealed that former Federal Minister for food security Sahabzada Mehboob Sultan was involved in the wheat crisis.

The report also implicated Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chowdhury for creating the wheat crisis saying that the Food Security and Research Center kept the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) unaware of the wheat procurement situation. The report says that the wheat and flour crisis in the country was a creation of the Flour mills Association.

The report further revealed that on December 13, 2019, the Competition Commission of Pakistan imposed a fine Rs75 million on the flour mills, which the association challenged in court.

The report states that the investigation procedure of the CCP is very slow as in 13 years, the CCP has only been able to recover Rs33.3 million of Rs27 billion imposed fines.

According to the report, Sindh did not purchase wheat for the province while Punjab delayed the procurement. Sahabzada Sultan was unable to provide a satisfactory answer in this regard.

The report further revealed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dependent on Punjab for fulfilling its wheat requirements; Director Food Punjab could also not satisfy the committee on the reason for the delay in wheat procurement. Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Director Food Department are responsible for the delay in procurement.

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