Prosperity at grassroots level topmost priority of govt: Tarin

ISLAMABAD, May 03 (APP): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin Monday urged all the provincial governments to ensure daily release of wheat on subsidized rates in compliance with the directives of the prime minister to keep the prices of wheat flour bags in check.

Chairing the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), the minister directed the respective provincial administrations and concerned departments for strict monitoring of prices of basic commodities and ensure availability of sufficient stocks of basic commodities to provide relief to consumers on the special occasion of Eid.

Keeping in view the arrival of Eid, the finance minister stressed coordinated and consolidated efforts by all concerned to check undue profiteering and price hike to facilitate masses during the last week of Ramadan.

Earlier, the NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken and vegetables during the last week.

While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the finance secretary apprised that prices of 09 basic commodities registered a decline whereas 30 items remained stable during the week under review.

In compliance with the earlier directions of the Finance Minister, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) updated the committee about data collection methodology and presented a detailed working regarding disparity between wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities.

After due deliberation, the NPMC directed PBS to further review its data collection methodology to reflect variation between wholesale and retail levels for basic commodities across different cities accurately.

The finance minister also directed PBS to ensure that data must represent and reflect prevailing prices trends including prices prevailing in Ramadan Saastaa/Sahulat Bazars for wide coverage.

The Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research apprised the committee about sufficient availability of wheat stocks across the country.

He also briefed about arrangements underway to import wheat for building strategic reserves and to ensure steady supply during the current year.

A summary would be presented before next ECC for requisite approval in this regard, he added.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam; SAPM on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood; Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Ministry of NFS&R, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officers participated in the meeting.