ISLAMABAD, Mar 28 (APP): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin here on Monday appreciated the efforts of the governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad administration in providing essential items at discounted rates at Sasta and Sahulat bazaars.
Presiding over the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), the minister also expressed satisfaction on the contribution of Sindh government for providing essential items at discounted rates in Sahulat bazars.
He commended the efforts being undertaken for stabilizing the prices of essential items successfully and measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country, according to press statement issued by the finance ministry.
Earlier, Economic Adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about weekly SPI which witnessed an increase of 1.10% as compared to decrease in previous week by 1.37%. it was informed that 33 food items contributed increase in the SPI by 1.07%, whereas 18 non-food items contributed increase of 0.03% to the SPI.
NPMC was apprised that the prices of 08 items declined, 18 items remained stable and prices of 25 items increased. The commodities that witnessed declined in prices included garlic (0.06%), tomatoes (0.02%), eggs (0.06%), LPG (0.05%), gur (0.0004%), sugar (0.01%) and gram pulse (0.0004%) and contributed 0.20% in decline of SPI during the week under review.
However, spike was witnessed in the prices of chicken (0.35%), vegetable ghee (0.22%), cooking oil (0.23%), potatoes (0.01%), wheat (0.16%) and others (0.33%) which contributed 1.30 percent increase in SPI.
NPMC was informed that prices of garlic, tomatoes, eggs, LPG cylinder, gur, sugar, pulse gram, pulse masoor have shown decline in the prices during the last week. It was informed that prices of tomatoes have reached to the prices as four years earlier.
The NPMC was updated on the wheat flour prices in the country. It was informed that there was increase in the prices of wheat flour in Karachi which has impacted the national average price.
The Chair was apprised on the stock position of wheat in the country which is sufficiently available.
However, keeping the fresh arrival of Wheat stocks and future consumption, the Chair directed Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) to workout realistic data on wheat production, in consultation with the provincial authorities to assess the accurate future requirement of wheat for imports.
The representative of Balochistan government apprised the meeting on the sufficient availability of wheat stock in the provinces.
NPMC was also apprised on the sugar prices in the country on which Tarin asked the Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production (I&P) to expedite the process of building strategic reserves of sugar through local procurement as approved by ECC.
NPMC was also informed that there was stability in price of pulses as the price of Moong pulses registered decline due to record domestic production while Maash pulse also shown decline in its prices. The prices of Masoor pulse have marked stability.
NPMC was briefed on the rising prices of vegetable ghee in the country and informed that Year-on-Year prices of palm and soybean oil increased by 49.2% and 72.4% respectively in the global market.
The Chair further directed Ministry of Industries and Production to take immediate action to ensure that relief of 10% on duty has been passed on to the consumers.
NPMC was briefed on the fertilizer situation in the country and was informed about the smuggling of the locally manufactured fertilizer to the neighboring countries.
The Chair expressed serious concern on the issue and directed FBR to take immediate action for curbing the smuggling of fertilizers in order to ensure price stability in the country.
The NPMC also reviewed the wholesale and retail prices margins and the provincial authorities of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan were directed to take administrative actions for ensuring the minimum wholesale and retail gap in the prices of daily commodities like potato, onion and potatoes.
On the proposal of providing vegetables at Utility Store Corporation outlets, MD USC informed that such facilities have been started at USC outlets in the Capital territory while for provinces the consultation is in process with the relevant authorities.
The meeting was also briefed on the comparison of prices of essential items with prices in the regional countries. It was informed that prices of commodities are lowest in Pakistan as compared to neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
NPMC was briefed on the availability of essential goods at subsided rates at the Sasta and Sahulat bazaar across the country.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Syed Fakhar Imam; Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood; Secretary M/o Industries and Production; Provincial Chief Secretaries; Economic Advisor Finance Division, Member National Accounts PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Chairman OGRA, Member Customs FBR and other senior officers.