ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee has taken serious note of increase in beef and mutton prices and called for measures to control smuggling of livestock to neighbouring countries.
The committee, which met here on Monday under the chairmanship of Special Secretary Finance Rana Assad Amin, decided that the route and quantity for the issuance of export licence for livestock should be identified to ensure stability in the domestic prices of beef and mutton.
It was decided that the Ministry of Food Security would suggest measures in consultation with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Interior Ministry to address the issue of illegal export of livestock.
The high price of food items in Balochistan as compared to other provinces was also taken up by the committee which emphasised the need for market intelligence between the provinces.
The committee reviewed the price trend of 28 selected items among the provinces. Some variations in the prices of wheat, rice basmati broken, rice Irri-6, pulses, beef, mutton, egg, milk (fresh), milk powdered, ghee, onions, tomatoes and garlic were observed.
The Ministry of Food Security was asked to present a workable plan in consultation with the provinces for sharing the marketing intelligence so that the disparities in prices of food commodities among the provinces could be addressed.
The special secretary finance endorsed suggestions of the committee for establishing more storages facilities by the provincial governments in order to minimise the wastage of perishable food items as well as expediting the revival of palm oil development projects to save foreign exchange on import of edible oil from abroad.
The meeting reviewed the Consumer Price Index (CPI), food, non-food, core, wholesale price index (WPI) and sensitive price index (SPI) to measures the changes in prices. The SPI recorded an increase of 0.28 per cent of the week ended on March 15.
It was observed that out of 53 items, prices of 25 items registered increase while prices of 5 items decreased and prices of 23 items remain unchanged as compared to previous week ended on March 8, where prices of 31 items increased, prices of 7 items decreased and prices of 15 items remain unchanged.
The prices which registered increase were tomatoes by 28.79 per cent, rice (basmati) broken 2.93 per cent, gram pulse 1.55 per cent, sugar 0.92 per cent, vegetable ghee (loose) 0.74 per cent, wheat flour 0.67 per cent and mash pulse 0.30 per cent.
The items which recorded decrease in their prices were garlic 3.93 per cent, chicken farm 3.34 per cent, egg (farm) 2.94 per cent, onion 1.50 per cent and potatoes 0.76 per cent while prices of mutton, milk (powdered), cooking oil (tin), vegetable ghee (tin), electricity charges, gas price were up, petrol, diesel and kerosene remain unchanged.
It was also observed that in comparison with regional countries, Pakistan stood the lowest in prices of wheat, wheat flour, rice, sugar, chicken (farm) and second lowest in beef, garlic and petrol. However, prices of pulses, mutton, eggs, potatoes, red chilies, onion, diesel, tea and urea were higher in Pakistan.
The meeting was attended by provincial government representatives, Islamabad Capital Territory, and ministries of planning and development, industries, commerce, food security, interior, cabinet division, Federal Bureau of Statistics and Federal Board of Revenue.