Mills threaten halting flour delivery
Ministry promises
arrears payment
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Wheat mills will stop delivering subsidized flour as of March 31, if the government does not honor its payables this week. The Cabinet’s decision for subsidizing wheat will expire at the end of this month. As a result, regular Arabic bread will no longer be available at a subsidized price (LL1,500 per bag).
Arslan Sinno, Head of the Syndicate of Agri-food Traders said: “The government did not pay mills the accumulated arrears that reached $8 million in the last 18 months. The government did not provide mills subsidized wheat in February and March.”
He said that mills can no longer bear the burden. They don’t have the financial ability to purchase wheat and provide bakeries with the required amounts. “We will definitely face a crisis if the government does not pay us or provide us with wheat,” said Sinno.
The Ministry of Finance released on March 24, a statement saying that it will be paying the accumulated arrears for mills from October 2012 to March 2013.
After the statement, Sinno said: “The Association of Mills will be waiting to receive the payment this week. Otherwise we will stop delivering the wheat.” He said that in the future, it will cooperate with the ministry in order to put a new strategy to subsidize wheat.
Mills receive 18,000 tons of subsidized wheat per month. The current ex factory price of subsidized flour is $393 per ton, while the non-subsidized price is $460.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Mar 24, 2014