LAHORE - Following price hike in power tariff and huge escalation in petrol cost by the so-called business friendly government of the PML-N, the cost of flour millers have increased by at least Rs25 per 20kg bag.

Millers said that they have received more than 100 per cent escalated power bills due to increase in electricity prices by the new government and they are finding it difficult to absorb the hike. Ultimately this burden would be passed on to consumers in the shape of flour price hike, they said.

It is to be noted that flour mills have already raised rates during last couple of months owing to rising price of wheat in the open market and other utility expenses. Once again, they are flexing muscles to pass on huge increase in power rates to consumers by increasing rates of their all flour products.

Industry sources said that continuous import of wheat has kept flour prices stable, otherwise it would have crossed Rs50 per kg if imports would have not been made.

The PFMA’s Founder Group leader Dr Bilal Sufi has asked the Punjab Food Dept to immediately allow the millers to pass on this unprecedented increase in cost of the millers by raising the price of flour by Rs25 per 20 kg bag on account of increased tariff of electricity.

He said before August millers were paying Rs8 per unit while from 1st August it had become Rs22 per unit which is a substantial increase and our ‘fake association leaders’ had failed to negotiate the issue of increase of atta price on account of this huge increase.

Soofi said that 95 percent mills were suffering huge losses due to bad policies of association. We demand immediate increase as there is no way to run mills without electricity, he added. Soofi hinted at increase of at least Rs1.25 per kg in flour prices following rise in electricity rates and rising transportation costs.

Industry sources said that the association had sought permission twice from the government regarding hike in ex-mill flour rate, but the government is yet to respond. The association would remind the government again, seeking rise in flour rate. After getting no response, the millers will be bound to raise prices on their own to offset rising production cost, they added.