Islamabad: Prices of pulses in Pakistan are going up due to the non-clearance of imported shipments at the port amid delay in the approval of relevant documents by banks, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.

Rauf Ibrahim, the chairman of Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA) said traders on Thursday, held a protest outside the State Bank's head office against the non-clearance of over 6,000 containers of pulses at the port for the past two months due to a dollar shortage and banks' reluctance in approval of import documents, according to Dawn Newspaper.

Faisal Anis Majeed, a commodity importer/exporter, told Dawn that the wholesale price of gram pulse had risen to Rs205 per kg from Rs180 on January 1, 2023, and Rs170 on Dec 1, 2022.

The price of masoor reached Rs225 from Rs205 while it stood at Rs200 in December. The price of mash and mung went up to Rs335 per kg and Rs260 from Rs315 and Rs225, respectively. On Dec 1, mash and mung sold at Rs288 and Rs200.

The price of masoor, mung, mash, and gram pulse in the retail market swelled to Rs270-280, Rs250-300, Rs380-400, and Rs230-260 per kg from Rs210-240, Rs180-220, Rs260-300 and Rs160-200 per kg in January 2022. Due to the non-clearance of pulses containers from the port, the retail prices may rise further.

Majeed said that banks had stopped accepting any import documents from January 1, 2023, as well as payment of currently arrived cargo and other relevant documents, Dawn newspaper reported.

Annually, Pakistan consumes about 1.5 million tonnes of imported pulses. Majeed said that stuck-up containers are incurring shipping company detention charges daily. He said that this additional cost gets transferred to end consumers.

Recently, the media reported that due to a surge in price and shortage of wheat flour, a large number of people, including traders and shopkeepers staged protests in Pakistan, The News reported on Wednesday.

The protests took place on Tuesday, and farmers and students also were also part of the protests.

Addressing the protesters at Farooq-e-Azam Chowk, traders' leaders Habib Khan, Iftikhar Khan, and the PQM president Wali Muhammad Khan said that the price of wheat flour per bag had been increased by over PKR 1,000 in just a month, which hit the mark of PKR 3,100 per bag, The News reported.

The agitators claimed that the shortage of wheat flour in the KP region occurred to fetch money.

The protest march was organized jointly by the leaders of the Pakhtun Qaumi Movement (PQM) and the Tajir Ittehad, an organization of traders and shopkeepers, to press the government and local administration officials to take note of the wheat flour scarcity and price spike, according to The News.

Following a record increase in price, it is now harder for low-income groups to buy a bag of flour in Pakistan and people are looking to the government for help, according to The News International newspaper.