Faulty price monitoring

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THE National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) during its meeting on Wednesday generally expressed satisfaction over price situation in the country.

It was told that the price of 19 items remained stable in the last week while price of 13 items decreased, contributing decline in SPI by 1.16%.

Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) and NPMC are two main platforms the deliberations and decisions of which go a long way in affecting the price situation but regrettably their input is not as reliable and comprehensive as it should be and as a result they often fail to take appropriate measures to safeguard interests of the consumers.

There have been consistent demands that the data collection process should be free from governmental interference but often the figures quoted in meetings of the ECC and NPMC are not authentic as these are presented to please the relevant authorities, leaving the ground situation as it is.

A case in point is the prices quoted for wheat flour, sugar and eggs, which have reportedly come down but in fact these have gone up.

Sugar is selling at Rs.100 a kilogram in the retail but the NPMC derived satisfaction that the price has come down to Rs.89 a kilogram.

Similarly, the price of eggs went up from Rs.120 a dozen (previous week) to Rs.135 but the meeting was informed that the price has come down.

The price of chicken has gone up significantly mainly due to the taxes and duties imposed in the mini budget but the meeting attributed the hike to the short supply and as a result the consumer would continue to suffer.

There are also no reports of any decline in the prices of pulses as has been claimed in the report submitted to the NPMC.

The situation is unlikely to improve until and unless honest figures are reported and real factors behind the price hike of different items identified.

 

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