The government is taking all possible measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin.
Chairing a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Wednesday, he expressed satisfaction over the stability in prices of sugar in the market.
Discussing high prices of wheat flour in Sindh, the adviser suggested the establishment of an effective mechanism to keep wheat prices in check in the province and ensure its availability at the price set by the government.
The committee reviewed prices of daily-use commodities and essential food items in the country.
Tarin directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to take measures to control prices of edible oil in the market by exploring alternative options for import of palm and soybean oil at lower prices from the international market. According to him, it will reduce pressure on domestic prices.
The adviser called for enhancing production of pulses in the country to reduce the burden on imports and control prices of the commodity.
On the occasion, Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob briefed meeting participants about the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) and said that it had registered a decrease of 0.48% in the previous week.
He added that prices of tomato, onion, potato, chicken, sugar, eggs, wheat flour, jaggery and garlic fell significantly last week.
He told the NPMC that prices of wheat flour bags remained constant at Rs1,100 per 20 kg due to the proactive measures taken by the governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration.
“Daily release of wheat by all provincial governments will push down wheat prices further across the country,” he said.
While reviewing the cost of sugar purchase, the finance secretary emphasised that prices were on the decline in the country due to the measures taken by the government.
“Fresh stocks of sugar are arriving in the market, which will further reduce the rates,” he said.
Ministry of National Food Security and Research secretary apprised the meeting that sufficient reserves of wheat were available in the country and the market had witnessed stability due to regular and effective monitoring of wheat price movement.
Provincial chief secretaries told the meeting that an effective monitoring system had been employed to ensure that the released wheat was converted into flour and made available in the market.
NPMC observed that the increase in prices of edible oil in the global market, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia, had affected prices in the domestic market as well.
While reviewing the production of pulses, the meeting was informed that the cost of the commodity depicted a slight increase in the week under review.
Referring to the stock of fertiliser, the NPMC was told that prices had begun to come down due to effective administrative measures.
Moving on to the expansion of utility store outlets in Balochistan, the industries and production secretary apprised the meeting that Utility Stores Corporation (USC) had widened its operations by opening 21 outlets in different cities.
“USC has also started running mobile stores in such areas of the province where traditional utility stores have not been established,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2021.