ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Wednesday took strict notice of high prices of wheat flour prevailing in Sindh and Balochistan and urged the chief secretaries to start daily release of wheat for stabilising its prices.
The federal government is constantly criticising the provincial governments, especially Sindh, for not matching the price fixed by Punjab, which is releasing wheat to flour mills at Rs1,950 per 40 kg. As a result, wheat flour is costlier in Sindh and Balochistan compared to other provinces.
In response to this pressure from the federal government, the provincial cabinet on Tuesday decided to match Punjab price to be effective from Oct 16.
However, no such announcement came from Balochistan.
Presiding over a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), Finance Minister Tarin commended the government of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration for daily release of wheat at government’s specified price which has eased pressure on prices of wheat flour.
Commends Punjab, ICT for daily release of wheat at govt’s price
According to a press statement issued by the finance ministry, Mr Tarin expressed satisfaction over availability of sufficient stocks of wheat and sugar.
The NPMC stressed the need to ensure a smooth supply of wheat at government notified prices throughout the country.
The ministry of industries secretary briefed the meeting about sufficient availability of stock of wheat in the government sector till the arrival of the new crop.
The meeting reviewed the price trend in global markets and decided that a minimum impact will be passed on to the consumers.
The finance division briefed the committee about increasing price trend of food commodities in international markets.
The finance minister directed the ministry of industries and production and the Federal Board of Revenue to accelerate the process of providing relief to the consumers in the prices of edible oil through concession in duty.
He announced the concession of Rs50 per litre on edible oil by reducing the tax. However, the decision was yet to be implemented despite a lapse of a couple of weeks.
The industries secretary updated the NPMC about opening a tender for importing 50,000 tonnes of sugar on Wednesday. He apprised the meeting about the progress over the provision of sugar at government’s fixed price through a network of Sahulat Sasta Bazars, Utility Stores, etc.
The meeting was briefed about a decline in weekly SPI by 0.10pc. This is a consecutive decline in weekly SPI over the past two weeks. Prices of 10 items, including tomatoes, onions, moong and mash pulses witnessed a decline, while 21 items remained stable during the week.
The downward trend in weekly SPI reflects the outcome of the recent steps taken by the federal and provincial governments and departments concerned.
Moreover, the CPI is also depicting a downward trend in the first quarter of FY2021-22 to 8.58pc as compared to 8.84pc in the corresponding period last year.
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021