ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Wednesday asked the federal government to clear dues amounting to Rs70 billion owed to the Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (Passco).
The committee met with senator Muzzafar Ali Shah in the chair and discussed a host of issues pertaining to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and its subsidiary departments.
During the meeting, the Passco managing director complained that the agency was facing tremendous challenges due to financial constraints since the federal government was its major defaulter and had suspended payments of over Rs70 billion piling up since 2008. “We procured wheat and released it to different government agencies including Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) but have not received any payment for years,” he said.
“Out of the total outstanding amount, over Rs30 billion is receivable on account of wheat released to G-B, which is to be paid by the finance division, while the remaining amount is outstanding against the federal government,” he added.
For the current year, Passco has been given a procurement target of 1.0 million tons. “This target seems unlikely to be achieved if the outstanding amount is not received timely,” said the MD.
After hearing the official, the committee chairman recommended the federal government to expedite the payments so that the procurement process could continue without hindrance. Furthermore, the committee sought the establishment of a ‘central price committee’ for determining the support prices for at least the major crops.
Source: The Express Tribune