The Head of Bakery Owners Syndicate in Mount Lebanon Tony Saif, affirmed that even if the global price of wheat rises, the price of a bundle of bread will not rise, because wheat is subsidized by the Central Bank of Lebanon. The price depends on the dollar exchange rate and the price of oil derivatives.
Saif called on the Ministry of Economy during a television interview to expedite the import of ready-made flour from any market. He also demanded lifting the customs duty on the flour because we are amid exceptional conditions.
Grace Barbari, Director General of Cereals and Sugar Beets Directorate confirmed that Russia, Romania and Ukraine were the main sources for importing wheat due to the low transportation cost from these countries. He reassured that Lebanon is in the process of finding other sources of wheat, such as India, and that the State Grain Office will finalize today the terms of reference that include wheat specifications suitable for preparing Arabic bread.
Barbari explained in a television interview that funds are secured and all we have to do is find an alternative source for Ukraine, noting that this process will need a few days between setting the book of conditions, launching the tender, and informing the Central Bank.
Barbari revealed that the annual imports of wheat range from 570,000 to 600,000 tons, stressing that “our main concern is to keep the bundle of bread at the lowest possible price.”
He pointed out that the import of flour is proposed as an alternative idea. He talked about an obstacle in this file, saying: There is a 14% tax on flour import that must be lifted, and another procedure must be taken.