ISLAMABAD: On Monday, evaluating the market pattern for basic goods, the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) called on provincial governments to take constructive action to ensure that kitchen products are available at an affordable price.
The price pattern for wheat flour, sugar, tomatoes, onions, vegetable ghee, potatoes and chicken was checked on a weekly basis at the NPMC meeting chaired by Finance Advisor Dr Hafeez Shaikh. Via video connection, the provincial chief secretaries entered the session.
In presenting the price pattern of essential commodities, Federal Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch announced that according to the latest SPI published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the prices of essential goods, including wheat flour, sugar, onions, are dropping. He confirmed that there was a small rise in prices for onions, potatoes and chicken.
At the conference, it was announced that vegetable ghee prices remained unchanged. There was also talk of market differences between the provinces and profit margins between wholesale and retail.
Committee meets to review price trends
Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Mumtaz Shah said the province’s flour and sugar prices have decreased and will further stabilise over the coming weeks. In order to provide relief to the general public, the Sindh government established fair price shops, he said. Nevertheless the prices of chicken are marginally rising and corrective steps are being taken accordingly, Shah told the meeting.
Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr. Kazim Niaz said 5,000 tonnes of wheat were issued daily and flour bag rates fell by Rs20 to 30 on the market as a result. It was stated at the meeting that local tomatoes had begun to reach the market. “It is expected that the supply of tomatoes will increase significantly in the coming weeks, resulting in a significant price decline,” he said.
Additional Secretary-General Punjab Shaukat Ali noted that tomato prices were fluctuating because of seasonal factors. These would however, stabilise in the coming weeks, he added. He also stated that prices in 360 Sahulat bazaars were lower than those in free markets. As a result of the stabilisation of flour prices, the government of Punjab releases wheat according to policy, he said.
The governments of Punjab and Sindh also briefed on the new crushing season of sugar cane and underlined that sugar prices would be further reduced in the coming months due to the availability of local produce.
The NPMC was told by top officials of the utility stores of ample stocks of sugar and wheat at their outlets across Pakistan at subsidised prices.
Shaikh had a thorough discussion on the status of wheat and sugar stocks in the provinces with the provincial chief secretaries. The NPMC was advised of the availability of adequate quantities across the region. The Finance Advisory stated that the regional governments and all other agencies involved are taking urgent constructive steps to monitor the price rises.
He encouraged provincial government officials to closely track the disparities between retail and wholesale rates for different goods.
The meeting was also attended by Hammad Azhar, Minister of Industries and Production, Razak Dawood, SAPM Revenue Adviser, Dr Waqar Masood, Federal Secretary of Finance, Federal Secretary of National Food Security and Research, Secretary of Industries and Production, Secretary of Commerce, TCP Chairman, CCP Chairman and Utility Stores Corporation Managing Director.