Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin presiding over a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee on Wednesday. — APP
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin presiding over a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee on Wednesday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of rising prices of flour and sugar, the federal government on Wednesday renewed its demand that the Sindh government should expedite daily release of wheat for stabilising the flour price.

The PTI-led federal government has been critical of the provincial government for its failure to arrest rising trends in flour and sugar prices. The federal government’s orders in this regard have been implemented only in Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The reservation over price differential was noted in a weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam and some federal secretaries also attended the meeting.

Tarin asks Punjab to provide sugar to KP to stabilise its price

The NPMC expressed concern over the significant price differential in the key commodities namely flour, sugar, etc, between Sindh and other provinces.

Mr Tarin advised the Sindh government to expedite the process of daily release of wheat at the price determined by the government to ease out pressure on flour price.

The adviser also directed the chief secretary of Punjab to provide sugar to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to stabilise sugar price in the latter province.

The NPMC urged the government of Sindh to finalise the indicative price of sugarcane at the earliest.

The secretary of the ministry of industries updated the NPMC about sufficient availability of flour across the country. The stock of wheat would last longer before the arrival of the fresh crop, he added.

Economic adviser of the finance division Dr Imtiaz Ahmed briefed the NPMC on year-on-year and month-on-month inflation indicators. “There is a slight increase in year-on-year Consumer Price Index (CPI) — from last year’s 8.9 per cent to 9.2pc. The increase in CPI is due to a rise in international prices of food commodities and crude oil. The government has made all-out efforts to absorb the bulk of the hike in international prices by providing direct subsidy on wheat flour, sugar and pulses,” he said.

The NPMC noted a significant differential in year-on-year prices of seasonal vegetables.

Price of onions is Rs47 per kg as compared to Rs74 last year. Similarly, price of tomatoes is Rs104 per kg whereas it was Rs198 last year.

However, week-on-week increase in the prices of seasonal vegetables namely potatoes and tomatoes has been recorded in Punjab due to supply side disruptions caused by long march staged by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.

The economic adviser also updated the NPMC about the stability in prices of pulses during the week under review.

The NPMC observed that Sastaa Sahulat Bazaars in Punjab were offering essential goods at subsidised prices.

Mr Tarin commended the efforts of the Punjab government and Islamabad administration in providing key items at discounted prices through a network of Sastaa Bazaars and urged other provincial governments to make similar arrangements to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities at fair prices throughout the country.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2021

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