Ban on export of commodities sought to contain domestic prices

Published September 30, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is presiding over the National Price Monitoring Committee meeting on Wednesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is presiding over the National Price Monitoring Committee meeting on Wednesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Baffled by the rising food inflation, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Commerce to expedite the process of slapping a ban on the export of perishable commodities to control prices in domestic market.

The rising food prices have compelled the incumbent government to take some remedial policy measures to ban exports of perishable products for a period of three months to ensure the availability of such commodities at an affordable price to the consumers.

Chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting at the Finance Division, Mr Tarin asked the commerce ministry to expedite the process in consultation with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Decision made in view of seasonal variations, evolving situation in Afghanistan.

An official announcement of the Finance Division said the decision has been taken in view of seasonal variations as well as rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Pakistan perishable exports include all kinds of vegetables including onion, potatoes, tomatoes, fruits and meats including beef and chicken, and fish. In FY 21, Pakistan’s exports of food basket stood at $4.393 billion against $4.361bn over the last year, indicating a growth of 0.74 per cent. Of these, over $2bn is just alone of rice exports while the remaining were of other food items.

While reviewing prices of essential commodities, the NPMC noted that current hike in international prices of food commodities may continue to remain strong in the months to follow due to global supply bottlenecks.

Secretary Finance Yousuf Khan briefed the NPMC about decline in weekly inflation by 0.07pc. The rise in global food commodities and petroleum prices due to Covid-19 pandemic has affected the prices of essential food items worldwide, he said. The continuous uptick in international food prices is affecting the domestic prices as Pakistan is a net importer of staple food items namely wheat, sugar, edible oil and pulses, he added.

While taking stock of the situation, Mr Tarin expressed satisfaction over the release of wheat by the provincial government of Punjab at the government specified rate, noting that this was easing out the price of wheat flour bags in the province.

Mr Tarin directed the provincial Chief Secretaries of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to expedite the process for releasing wheat at the price determined by the government after fulfilling requisite formalities. He reiterated the firm commitment of the government to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour across the country at government specified price.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2021

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