ISLAMABAD: Reviewing price trend of essential commodities on Monday, the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) urged provincial governments for proactive measures to ensure availability of kitchen items at an affordable price.
The NPMC meeting chaired by Finance Adviser Dr Hafeez Shaikh reviewed the price trend of wheat flour, sugar, tomatoes, onions, vegetable ghee, potatoes and chicken on weekly basis. The provincial chief secretaries joined the meeting through video link.
Federal Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch, while presenting the price trend of essential commodities informed that according to latest SPI released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, there is decline in the prices of essential items including wheat flour, sugar, onions. He acknowledged that prices of tomatoes, potatoes and chicken have slightly increased.
The meeting was informed that prices of vegetable ghee have remained unchanged. Price variation among the provinces and profit margins between wholesale and retail was also discussed.
Committee meets to review price trends
Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Mumtaz Shah said flour and sugar prices have declined in the province and these would further stabilise in the coming weeks. Sindh government has established fair price shops to provide relief to general public, he said. However, the chicken prices are slightly increasing and corrective measures are being taken accordingly, Shah informed the meeting.
Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Kazim Niaz said 5,000 tonnes of wheat was being released daily and as a result the prices of flour bags have come down by Rs20 to 30 in the market. The meeting was informed that local tomatoes have started coming in the market. “It is expected that in coming weeks the supply of tomatoes will increase significantly which will bring a major decline in the price,” he added.
Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shaukat Ali noted that prices of tomatoes were fluctuating due to seasonal factors. However, these will stabilise in the coming weeks, he said. He further briefed that the prices in 360 sahulat bazars were lower than open markets. The government of Punjab is releasing wheat as per policy as a result the flour prices have stabilised, he added.
The Punjab and Sindh governments also briefed about the new crushing season of sugarcane and underlined that prices of sugar would be reduced further due to the availability of local produce in the coming months.
Top officials of the Utility Stores apprised the NPMC about the sufficient stocks of sugar and wheat at their outlets across Pakistan at subsidised price.
Shaikh held a detailed discussion with the provincial chief secretaries regarding position of wheat and sugar stocks in the provinces. The NPMC was briefed that sufficient quantities are available across the country. The finance adviser emphasised that the provincial governments and all other concerned authorities take immediate proactive measures to control the increase in prices.
He urged representatives of the provincial governments to strictly monitor the difference between retail and wholesale prices in various commodities.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Federal Secretary Finance, Federal Secretary National Food Security and Research, Secretary Industries and Production, Secretary Commerce, Chairman TCP, Chairperson CCP and Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation also participated in the meeting.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2020