Murad urges center to ban the export of food items to avoid shortages

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday urged the federal government to impose a ban on export of food items such as wheat, rice and pulses under the food security plan to avoid a new crisis.

He said this while participating in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s coordination committee meeting through video link.

He said that the ban should be imposed on export of food-related items such as wheat, rice and pulses.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

“The wheat being harvested these days might be surplus but local requirements of the current year and of the next crop year must be addressed before taking any decision,” he said, adding what would happen in the next crop year could not be guessed now and there was a need to start emergency preparations.

Mr Shah said the shortages of food items could not be ruled out, if exports were allowed. “In such a situation imports would be costlier than the benefits of exports,” he said, adding: “We have to rely on our own resources at this critical time and have to ensure our food security.”

Wants lockdown extended for 14 days

He said that keeping in view the critical situation he wanted another lockdown of 14 days, if it was approved on the national level. “The decision should be taken and announced by the prime minister and we, the provinces, would follow the decision in true letter and spirit.”

Mr Shah said that the federal government was giving Rs12,000 cash per family and suggested to the prime minister that the payments must be conditional in the sense that the recipient must observe the lockdown by staying home at least for 14 days.

The CM told the prime minister that the provincial government was meeting the expenditures of the Covid-19 tests from its resources. “We are conducting more than 90 per cent test and about 10 per cent are being done by the private sector but we are subsidising them,” he said.

He said that he was mindful of the economic situation under which exports were stopped, local financial activities came to a halt and no growth was being expected.

He requested the federal government to share the standard operating procedures it had worked out for the post-lockdown period so that they could be compared with the SOPs the provincial government had prepared. The provincial government would also share the same with the centre, he added.

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