ISLAMABAD    -   Since the calamitous monsoon floods have sent food prices sky­rocketing, the federal cabinet has approved the import of onions and tomatoes from Iran and Afghanistan.

“The approval was taken from the federal cabinet through a circu­lation summary, but the decision has not been taken to import toma­toes and onions from India,” said Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar while briefing the media about the decisions taken by the cabinet that met here yesterday.

The cabinet has also approved tax exemption on onion and tomato which will be till 31 December 2022.

The minister said, “there is pres­sure in the market due to the in­crease in the prices of vegetables, so import from these two countries has been allowed, while tax exemp­tion will be given for the import of tomatoes and onions.” He said that the import from Iran and Afghan­istan will be done by the private sector for which the government will play a facilitating role. He fur­ther said that there are issues re­lated to import from India and the decision will be taken after consul­tation with all the stakeholders.

In this regard, Minister for Fi­nance Miftah Ismael tweeted, “More than one international agen­cy has approached the govt to allow them to bring food items from India through the land border. The govt will take the decision to allow im­ports or not based on supply short­age position, after consulting its coalition partners & key stakehold­ers.” The food ministry has asked the Federal Board of Revenue to waive off taxes and levies on on­ion and tomato imports for the next three months.

“These measures are aimed at ensuring the supply of essential commodities in the market and stabilise prices,” says the Ministry of National Food Security and Re­search in a statement.

It may be noted here that the price of onions had shot up by more than five times.