CHECKING prices of essential commodities has remained a major problem for PTI government. Soaring prices has also dented its popularity in the masses.
The top PTI leadership is also fully cognizant of the fact and that is why it keeps coming up with different initiatives to provide relief to the masses.
The government has now issued an order to control prices of fifty items including sugar, wheat, milk, meat and pulses in the country and to stop profiteering and hoarding.
The Ministry of Industries and Production, after the approval of Federal Cabinet, issued a notification order 2021 under the Price Control, Profiteering and Prevention of Stockpiling Act 1977, which will come into force immediately.
Under the order, powers of Controller General have been given to Provincial Secretaries of Industry, concerned Secretaries in the Federation, Islamabad’s Secretary Home and concerned Deputy Commissioners.
The authority to set sugar and wheat prices have been given to the Secretary and Federal Ministry of National Food Security.
Whether or not this mechanism succeeds in bringing stability to the prices will be seen in weeks and months ahead. However this is also a fact that rates fixed by authorities concerned are never implemented in the markets. This is also because currently there is no system to enforce these rates.
We therefore will suggest that district administrations must be empowered to keep a check on the prices and to take firm action against hoarders who create artificial shortage of products to rob the pockets of consumers.
At the same time, it is also important to understand that prices of certain items such as that of wheat flour or sugar cannot be brought to previous level as support prices of these crops have been enhanced by the government for benefit of the farmers.
Indeed these steps were imperative, as without financially helping farmers, we cannot strengthen our agriculture sector. In the current situation what government can do is to focus on enhancing income levels of the people by reducing indirect taxes.
Then targeted subsidy should be given to poor segments of society through Utility Stores Corporation.