ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Monday reiterated government’s firm commitment to ensure provision of essential commodities at affordable prices across the board.
He was chairing a weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) here, said a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry. Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Ministry of Industries & Production, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Additional Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Chairman FBR, Member Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), MD Utility Stores Corporation, MD PASSCO, Member National Accounts PBS and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.
The finance minister directed Ministry of Industries and Production to continuously monitor stocks of sugar, its supply position and prices in the market. Meanwhile, NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, eggs, chicken, sugar and edible oil during the last week. Finance secretary outlined the significant decline in year-on-year CPI to 5.7% in January 2021 as compared to 14.6% in January last year.
The NPMC lauded the efforts of the concerned Ministries/Departments and provincial governments for vigilant monitoring of the prices of essential commodities and urged to continue the momentum to provide maximum relief to the general public. The secretary, Ministry of NFS&R updated NPMC that the wheat stock position was sufficient for the domestic consumption and average per day release by the provinces was also stable.
The NPMC directed the Provincial governments to keep close watch on the prices of wheat and sugar in the market to avoid hoarding, black marketing and smuggling to ensure uninterrupted supply at affordable prices. The secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production updated NPMC about the fluctuation in international prices of Palm and Soybean oils which in turn, drives the prices of edible oil in the domestic market. The Ministry has been closely monitoring the situation to minimize its impact on domestic prices, he stated.
The secretary further apprised NPMC that arrangements were underway to import sugar which will ensure its smooth supply in the domestic market. There would be increased production of sugar during the current crushing season as per latest estimates, he added.