Provinces directed to ensure roti at fair price

Updated September 28, 2019

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In this file photo, freshly baked naans are seen at a tandoor. The government has announced Rs1.5 billion subsidy in the shape of lower gas tariff for roti tandoors so that the food item is available at cheaper rates.
In this file photo, freshly baked naans are seen at a tandoor. The government has announced Rs1.5 billion subsidy in the shape of lower gas tariff for roti tandoors so that the food item is available at cheaper rates.

ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Friday directed provincial governments to take immediate and strict measures to ensure fair price of roti for general public.

NPMC Chairperson and Special Secretary Finance Division Omar Hameed Khan noted that a subsidy of Rs1.5 billion provided to roti tandoors has not been translated into provision of cheap roti to common man. The subsidy is provided in the shape of lower tariff gas rates for roti tandoors.

At the same time, the meeting was informed that Punjab government has started sharing online market complaints via an app titled ‘Qeemat Punjab’ which is meant to get hands-on picture of price escalation and overpricing with other provinces to review the possibility of its replication with their existing system.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) briefed that a committee had been constituted to execute the recommendations of Competition Commission of Pakistan to check cartelisation, profiteering and monopolistic practices in order to control the price hike. Progress will be shared in due course.

The chair instructed the constituted committee to take strict actions to check cartelisation, profiteering and monopolistic practices in the country.

On the directions of the ECC, the wheat/wheat flour stocks position in the country was also assessed. The food ministry informed NPMC that wheat/wheat flour stocks are sufficient to meet domestic demand.

Reviewing last meeting’s decisions, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration informed that a new sasta bazaar has been established in Chak Shehzad with 170 stalls functioning 3 days a week. ICT administration also informed that they are establishing seven additional sasta bazaars in Union Councils to provide essential items at affordable prices. Another sasta bazaar near Metro Cash and Carry with more than 900 stalls will be fully operationalsed shortly.

Further, the ICT is developing a free home delivery app to provide essential items to customers at their door steps at affordable prices.

Sindh government informed that it has developed a tab for its Chief Secretary under ‘Sindh Performance Management System’ for price control functions. All district officers are required to update the actions taken by them to control the prices in their areas.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has passed directions to all Deputy Commissioners and Food Department field formations to establish sasta bazaars at District and Tehsil level.

The NPMC noted that profit margins between wholesaler and retailer is huge; therefore the provincial governments should take concrete steps to check undue profit margins for benefit of common man. It was emphasised that the prices control committees should be made more proactive to check the general price level at the wholesale and retail level and undue profiteering in the provinces. The need was felt to ensure provision of quality items at sasta/Itwar bazaars to benefit the masses.

The committee also directed Utility Stores Corporation to explore the possibility of establishing its outlets in sasta bazaars to ensure provision of non-perishable items to far flung areas of the country. The ICT administration was advised to present a concrete plan of price monitoring mechanism and steps to remove disparity in prices in the capital area.

The NPMC directed the Federal Board of Revenue to take immediate steps to control smuggling in the country, which are creating distortions in the supply and prices of the commodities.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, ICT, Cabinet Division, Ministries of Industries, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Planning Development and Reform, FBR, Inter Provincial Coordination, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and Utility Stores Corporation.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2019