ISLAMABAD, Feb 17 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said it was the government’s foremost priority to provide relief to the common man by stabilizing and reducing the prices of basic essential commodities to the possible extent.

It was fully focused that the poor people could get basic essential items on appropriate prices and the burden of inflation could be minimized for such segments, he added.
The prime minister expressed these views while chairing a review-meeting regarding the prices of basic essential commodities.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khurso Bakhtiar, Advisor to the PM on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, relevant federal secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting.

The meeting deliberated on different proposals regarding stabilization and reduction in the prices of various essential items, including wheat, sugar, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, ghee and pulses, and providing relief to the masses.

The prime minister directed to put special attention on the compilation of true data of the stocks of basic commodities like wheat, sugar and other items, and their correct demand and supply estimates so that advance measures could be taken to ensure the provision of basic commodities.

He also called for giving special attention to discouraging and curbing smuggling and hoarding.

The prime minister directed the provincial governments to immediately consider proposals regarding decrease in the price of wheat so that a formal announcement in that respect could be made.

The meeting decided that the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should immediately consider proposals about bringing decrease in the wheat price.

The meeting, in order to meet demand and supply of wheat and ensure stability in its price, also decided to double its public procurement targets for the current year.

In order to ensure the availability of sugar at an appropriate price, it was decided that the Sugar Advisory Board would fix the price of commodity through third party evaluation.

The Commerce Division was directed to develop, in consultation with the stakeholders, a mechanism to pass on the benefit of reduction in the ghee prices in the international market to the masses.

The meeting decided that the smuggling of wheat, onion, tomatoes and other items from eastern and western borders would be strictly checked.

It was further decided that the matter of reducing tax levies on basic essential commodities should be presented before the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) so as to prepare a strategy in that respect.

The meeting decided to beef up the pace of administrative action against the hoarders and make them more effective.

It was decided that the ministries of National Food Security, Industries and Production, and Commerce would, through mutual consultation, formulate recommendations about estimates and strategy of imports and exports of wheat, sugar, pulses and other commodities.