Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Monday reiterated the firm commitment of the government to ensure provision of essential commodities at affordable prices across the board.
Chairing the weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), the federal minister urged the provincial governments and departments concerned to make coordinated efforts to keep prices of basic commodities in check.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Member CCP, Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), MD PASSCO, MD Utility Stores Corporation (USC), representatives of the provincial governments and senior officials of the Finance Division, according to press statement issued by the finance ministry.
The committee reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, chicken and eggs during the last week.
The weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) recorded a slight increase of 0.55% whereas prices of 08 basic items registered a decline and 18 commodities remained stable during the week under review.
The Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC about 11 most essential commodities being offered by the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) at subsidized prices across the country.
The USC network has been playing an important role in providing essential items at discounted prices to the masses as the prices of USC are significantly low as compared to the prices prevailing in domestic markets, he added.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar updated the committee that the Ministry was closely monitoring the current price trend of vegetable ghee/cooking oil and taking corrective measures to ensure fair price for the consumers.
He directed the provinces to expedite provision of estimates regarding sugar stock needed during the current year.
The USC has already made an arrangement for import of 50,000 ton of sugar to ensure its availability at a discounted price, he stated.
Secretary, Ministry of NFS&R apprised NPMC about the sufficient stock of wheat across the country. The NPMC noted price disparity in prices of wheat flour among Provinces and directed the Secretary Food to coordinate with representatives of the provincial governments to ensure smooth supply of wheat at fair prices across the board.
The NPMC also directed Member, PBS to give detailed briefing to the Chief Secretaries about the methodology of data collection across different markets in respective Provinces.
The underlying rationale is to work out a national average of prices of basic commodities which reflects the situation on ground accurately.
The representatives of the Punjab and Sindh governments informed the NPMC about the increase in prices of chicken and eggs due to seasonal factors.
The NPMC directed the provincial governments to take corrective measures and ensure supply of chicken and eggs at affordable prices throughout the country.